Sponsored by AUE
By Jim Carr
Even before the use of Ethernet cables and PACS, all of us in the imaging world have needed to know about networking. In the past few columns I have explored the importance of reputation and communication with customers and fellow employees. Networking with people is another type of communication that is important to your career, will help you in your daily job, expands your knowledge and horizons, and helps to build your personal brand. Communication outside of your regular network of customers and coworkers is important in life for personal and business reasons. Our social networks can provide information and support when we need it, and provide an opportunity for us to help and give back to others. Business networking also does those things, and is critical to maintaining or advancing our careers.
We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” Many of us technical engineering types are a little put off by that, since it is somewhat important how much we know when it comes to repairing a scanner! We understand that business networking is important to entrepreneurs who need to find and develop new customers. But “who you know” is also important and valuable in our job as imaging techs. Business networking can help us obtain information, build our reputation in the community by sharing information and further our careers through expanded opportunities. And critically, networking is generally regarded as the single most important factor in finding a job. I have found that to be especially true in the imaging service business, which is a relatively small and tight-knit community. Many career advisors say you should do something every day to expand your business network, so that you are ready when you need to find a job. For us, since we sometimes have long days that must be spent on our top priority (such as fixing a down scanner), “every day” probably translates to making sure we spend 30 minutes to an hour every week building our network.
The methods and opportunities for networking are numerous, and the best ways to do it depend on your objectives and the available resources. If you want to connect with people and companies (and see the latest scanners on the convention floor), the RSNA annual meeting held every November is a huge gathering of companies and clinicians in radiology, with tens of thousands of people and over 600 exhibitors.
You are reading a column in ICE magazine, and ICE has archives of “Webinar Wednesday” seminars, searchable issues of past articles, and a job board at imagingigloo.com. The ICE conferences such as the one in Tampa in February 2019 provide opportunities for education and interaction with others in the industry.
Social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook can be useful for business development and career enhancement, and MedWrench and DOTmed are great tools for the exchange of information. LinkedIn has Groups that are aimed at specific interests, such as the American College of Clinical Engineering, the AAMI community, Diagnostic Imaging and the Medical Imaging Network.
The American Association for Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is an organization that supports the safe use of technology in health care and all professionals working in healthcare technology. They have established a certification for radiology equipment specialists (CRES), and their annual conference and expo is attended by around 3,000 folks. Members get access to an online job board and regular publications that include research papers and industry news. AAMI has technical committees working on industry standards that are comprised of volunteers, a great networking opportunity. Other industry organizations and associations that you might consider include the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) and the association for medical imaging management, AHRA. Each has publications and meetings that can improve your knowledge as well as your career.
There are many regional healthcare technology management (HTM) organizations around the USA and Canada that provide business networking and help support the technical people in our industry. Most have regular meetings and some have annual symposiums with educational and networking opportunities. You can find a list of HTM associations in the USA with hyperlinks to the association websites on the AAMI website, www.aami.org.
Over the next couple of weeks, when you are dedicating time to developing your network, think about what networking you do now and if it is meeting your needs. Do more investigation into one or two new networking opportunities. Try some that can help you learn from others, open your horizons, support other imaging professionals and the medical community as well as advance your career.
Jim Carr is Director of Service and International Operations for AUE. He may be contacted via email at JCarr@auetulsa.com.