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What Will 2022 Look Like?

By Beth A. Allen

It is that time of year that we look back at all that has transpired over the last 12 months. I would like to think we have learned a lot. We have learned that we can make a political argument out of anything. We have learned that we can fight a pandemic head on. We have learned that some things are possible that we thought were not. We learned that we are able to solve problems quickly and efficiently when we are forced to do so.

I would like to focus on where we go from here. What does 2022 look like? Hopefully, the pandemic settles down and this can just be a bad memory. The way we do things has changed. I would propose that we have possibilities now that we maybe didn’t have before. If we strategize and are creative, how can health care be better? How can working in imaging be better? One thing is constant and that is change.

We can’t always prepare for what changes, but we know for sure that something will change. When you visualize the future of your department or team, what does it look like in a perfect world? What steps can you take to work towards that goal? It is worth it to spend time thinking about that. I know for me; I am so busy just trying to complete my tasks and work on projects that I don’t spend enough time dreaming about anything that isn’t a current problem. We become reactive instead of proactive. You have to be able to let your mind wander but be purposeful about it. What would you like to accomplish?

If we all just take a few minutes a day and visualize the best possible way to manage imaging I think we can come up with some fantastic ideas. To start, let’s focus on what we are doing right? Have we offered staff schedules that allow for a balance of work and home for our teams? Do we have great ideas that engage our teams and make them happy to come to work? Have we tried to identify challenges that may cause stress while dealing with patients? Have we created processes and systems that don’t cause extra work and decreases the likelihood of an error?

If the answer is yes to any of those, let’s dissect why those things work. How can we apply those successes to any of those questions that we cannot answer yes? What carries over to our patient experience?

Some people write down three things they want to accomplish personally and three things professionally before bed so they can set the focus for the next day. It sounds like a great plan, which I hope I can stick to. The first step is to just do it. You focus on what is in front of you.

I did set a goal to run a half marathon, and a fitness journal really helped me do that. It made me accountable to have to write down what miles I ran and how I felt. It was a four-month journal, so it had a hard-set completion date. I know if I apply the same principles to whatever we are looking to accomplish within our company I am more likely to be successful.

I have written about it before, but we are going to have to market our imaging field to a new generation of people making career choices. When I was growing up, a large percentage of people my age wanted to go into health care in one form or another. My high school anatomy class was full of those of us excited for the possibility of a rewarding and challenging career helping people. Imaging attracted me when I saw the technology and science. It is so much more exciting now. We have a new fluoro unit that was designed to be more intuitive for gamers to use. That is just a simple thing. There is amazing technology in all areas of imaging with more to come. People need to know what we are working with these days. To me, it just gets cooler and cooler all the time. We need to be sharing the technological advances and the miracles that come from them.

Think of recent events and how that affects the impression of what these types of careers are like. There are stories on the news and in social media everyday about burnout, exposure to potentially life-threatening viruses and low compensation for long, stress-filled hours. We have staffing shortages now and we will need to solve that problem. Those topics are true, but I believe it will not be that way forever.

We can offer the intangibles. Imaging has something for everyone. There is room for advancement, whether it is into leadership or to learn a new skill. Everyone has different priorities and we can most likely offer a position that can fulfill those needs.

It is never too early to start recruiting. I have worked with technologists over the years that had an encounter at a very young age with an imaging professional that set them on their career path. As a leadership group, I think we can work together to promote imaging as a solid career choice.

Maybe 2022 will be the “Year of the Tech.”

I am going to try this plan and see if I can come up with some new ideas. I hope you join me.

As said, “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.”

Thanks for all you do!

Beth Allen, RT(R)(CT), CRA, is the director, clinical operations at Banner Imaging.

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