Dr. Vaughn Eason, 47, started out as a “basic” radiology technician at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he worked in the operating room, ambulatory care clinics and performed fluoroscopy exams. “When I was promoted to Petty Officer Third Class, I was given the opportunity to work the PM shift,” said Eason. “After a year of working the PM shift, I was selected to work independently on the overnight shift.”
After 23 years, Eason is now the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Advisor at the Nashville Military Entrance Processing Station, as well as a part-time radiologic technologist. He earned his bachelor’s degree in radiology technology and master’s in healthcare management from Trident University, as well as a doctorate (DBA) in healthcare management and leadership from California Intercontinental University.
ICE learned more about this “Rising Star” in a recent interview.
Q: Why did you choose to get into this field?
A: Prior to joining the Navy, I worked in a photography processing lab for three years. I didn’t see that job having career longevity since photography was moving to digital and photo processing labs were starting to lose business. I wanted a more stable career and wanted to see what life had to offer in other areas of the country, so I decided to join the military. Prior to graduating Hospital Corpsman school, my class was given the opportunity to attend specialized medical training. I selected radiology because I thought it would be similar to photography. In some ways, it is. Capturing the best possible image with as little discomfort to the customer is one of the ways the two are similar.
Q: What do you like most about your position?
A: Currently, I am the Senior Enlisted Advisor at the Nashville MEPS. My responsibilities include regulatory compliance, personnel management and overseeing the day-to-day operations for processing military service applicants. I enjoy interacting with applicants and staff to ensure we are providing customer service excellence. In my role, I am able to talk to applicants about what to expect and provide first-hand perspective on how to be successful in the military (i.e., financial management, having a positive attitude, resilience, working as a team and accountability).
I also work part-time at a local hospital as a radiologic technologist. I enjoy staying active in the field and ensuring I am up-to-date on changes in the profession. I enjoy working with and learning from fellow technologists. I’ve been in the radiology profession for 23 years and still learn new tricks on obtaining images from recently graduated technologists, as well as seasoned technologists.
Q: What interests you the most about the imaging field?
A: Radiology is full of opportunities. You can specialize in an advanced modality like CT or MRI, you can specialize in IT/PACS, or you can become a travel tech. There are leadership opportunities as supervisor, manager or director.
I have experienced working in radiology in the theater of war, onboard Navy ships and in traditional medical facilities. Whether military or civilian, each experience is unique and provides opportunities to be creative and work closely with other health care professionals.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your field thus far?
A: I have held many leadership positions in my career from chief technologist to clinical coordinator. I was the first radiologic technologist to be assigned to Fleet Surgical Team EIGHT and built their radiology program. However, I would say my greatest accomplishment in the field thus far has been watching former students and sailors I’ve led or mentored succeed in their professional goals. I’ve had staff members that have become commissioned naval officers or have transitioned out of the military and became high level leaders within other organizations. There is no greater feeling than getting that phone call or text message saying thank you for your mentorship.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself in the next five years?
A: I am preparing to retire from active duty military service. My goal is to become a radiology director and stay active in the profession. I am a member of American Healthcare Radiology Administrators (AHRA), American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). I plan to stay active in all three and want to pursue fellow status in the near future.