By Erin Register
Kernesha Weatherly was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2004, she went to Birmingham to begin her undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed her degree in radiologic sciences with a specialty in molecular imaging. Kernesha went on to obtain a dual master’s in health administration and healthcare operations from Capella University. Additionally, she has successfully completed all coursework needed to obtain a doctorate in health care quality and analytics. Kernesha is in the process of completing her dissertation.
After completing her bachelor’s degree, Kernesha became a certified nuclear medicine technologist (CNMT). However, jobs were not abundant, so she decided to continue her education and become ARRT certified in computed tomography (CT). Kernesha worked in CT for four years before she found a job in nuclear medicine. After working in nuclear medicine for a year and a half, she had the opportunity to become the clinical educator of the department of radiology. Due to her extensive work with the regulatory department to learn and ensure compliance with the CMS mandated conditions of participation, Kernesha was offered a job as the manager of breast imaging. She worked in that position for two years. Kernesha is currently the director of radiology for inpatient services and breast imaging for UAB Medicine.
ICE Magazine learned more about this Rising Star in a questions-and-answer interview.
Q: Why did you choose to get into this field?
A: In high school, I loved to watch the show “Trauma, Life and Death in the ER,” and from then on, I knew I wanted to be in health care. However, I had no desire to be a nurse, as my grandmother was a nurse in the 1960s. Listening to her stories was enough to divert my attention elsewhere.
Q: What do you like most about your position?
A: I like the uncertainty of it all. I have found that I am good at expounding on and moderating collaborative efforts to get the job done. This position gives me the opportunity to continuously problem solve and the freedom to create innovative solutions that truly answer the questions at hand while simultaneously enhancing the quality of life for all, including patients, direct reports and indirect reports.
Q: What interests you the most about the imaging field?
A: Medical imaging is truly the eyes of health care. Unlike many health care professions, radiological technologists must be well-versed in multiple specialties in order to truly service the needs of an organization. Having the aptitude to effectively communicate what imaging modality is optimal based on the presented clinical indications is an art form that is amazing to see in action.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your field thus far?
A: Having inherited an area that had a series of opportunities for improvement, I was challenged with addressing the needs of all stakeholders, while learning a modality I have very little knowledge of. Being completely immersed into this multi-faceted structure positioned me to understand the need to become more expansive in my approach to the continuum of care. My ability to embrace change and challenges cultivated an atmosphere where I was able to truly transform the department into a premier imaging center. This transformation not only positively impacted a series of organizational metrics, but also impacted human metrics. Staff members once again felt heard and, through a series of collaborative process changes, our employee turnover rate diminished.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself in the next five years?
A: It is one thing to have worked as a front-line employee, but it is another thing to navigate the world of administration. In five years, I would like to have cultivated an even greater platform of creating proactive processes that further advance the department and ultimately the organization. I am confident the access and exposure I am afforded will allow me to do just that.