to provide our staff with opportunities to
perform a wide variety of procedures. If
you think about it, a work shift can make
all the difference in the world. Evening
shift staff do a variety of procedures,
night shift has their own procedures,
and day shift also has theirs. Not only
that, but look at the dilemma of a one
shift department. Everyone is expected
to be multi-modality proficient. A good
example is CT. If only a few staff actually
perform CT procedures routinely, but
all technologists are expected to take CT
calls, then some staff are lacking experience which can cause big problems in
the middle of the night. To guard against
this, a proficiency check sheet should
be developed and, at least quarterly, all
staff should meet the expected number
of different procedures. For example: five
CTA chest, four CT abdomen/pelvis, etc.
When this is done, all staff will have the
confidence needed to perform well and
some of your headaches will fade.
One misaligned saw tooth hinders the
smooth motion and efficiency of the saw
doing its job. If one or more staff members are out of alignment you have a
poorly functioning process and workflow.
Remember that saw tooth crimping tool
I mentioned before? Well, that is you—
the manager. It’s not easy keeping all the
teeth (staff) in line but the effort is well
worth it. Anything you can do to keep the
flow easy and smooth can only have positive results. And don’t get the wrong idea
when I say keeping the staff in line (which
actually sounds a bit harsh and dictatorial). It alludes to keeping staff attuned to
the same processes, procedures, policies,
protocols, etc. If everyone is going in different directions, not communicating,
not caring, and just getting through the
day, your department will be helter skel-ter. Quality patient care will be lacking,
staff job satisfaction low, and department
reputation will drop through the floor.
So the obvious question becomes:
How do we accomplish proper alignment
in our department?
1. Regular communication between staff
members. Encourage verbal connection at all times. That means talking
to one another instead of coming directly to the manager. All managers
should be encouraging their staff to
do this simple thing. Oftentimes, verbal connection among staff helps to
keep all in proper alignment.
2. The manager has to connect on a
regular basis. It may sound a bit simplistic, but it is a very important tool.
A good professional relationship helps
the manager be seen as part of the imaging team. This, in turn, lends credibility to those things put in place to
promote proper alignment.
3. Finally, and very important, is staff
being where they should be. By this
I mean utilizing talent where it best
benefits all involved (patients, staff,
facility, etc). For example, if a staff
member has a fondness and talent
for interventional radiography, but
you schedule him for surgery most of
the time, you are not using that staff
member to his full potential. Why
not make your life and his easier and
happier by using him most where he
is happiest? Win-win for all! Another
good example: Suppose you realize
one of your staff has a natural multi
planar functional mind. The place
to utilize her would be in the cross
sectional modalities like CT or MRI.
Again, if that employee really enjoys
those modalities, it is a win-win. Recognizing these traits and gently nudging staff members toward the appropriate modalities is something the
manager has a responsibility to do.
Keep the Rust Off
If you let a saw blade get rusty, the natural
glide or slide of the saw is compromised.
The friction that occurs creates heat.
Heat makes the metal lose its temper and
strength. Rusty staff do the same. Rusty
staff aren’t diverse. If they are rusty in one
area then their functions will be dimin-
ished when they attempt to perform. Bar-
ium studies have almost become obsolete,
but until they are gone forever, techs
are expected to remain knowledgable. I
don’t know of anyone that really enjoys
the procedure and, when one is ordered,
most techs run instead of taking part and
remaining polished and free of rust. No
matter how much we dislike something,
we still have to function in that capacity if
we want to remain in the industry.
And One Last Thing
Sometimes it is our responsibility, as
managers, to help our staff realize they
may be in the wrong profession. Some
enter this profession for the wrong rea-
son. Maybe it’s money or lack of anything
better to do. This profession requires
communication skills that just can’t be
ignored. How miserable it must be for
those who lack those skills or just don’t
care to practice them. And if they’re mis-
erable, so are your department, facility,
and customers. (Don’t forget about li-
ability either.) I love this saying: “Find
a job you love to do and you will never
work a day in your life.”
We need to help people in this area.
It’s not a shame to realize you need to
find your real love, but it is a shame to
never look for it. If we have employees
that need to start looking then we need
to come to their aid and help them find
it. That is what I call management.
All of these things, taken into consideration and practiced daily in the workplace, will surely make us much happier
and more productive.
Gary Naron, CRA, is contributing as a guest columnist.
He is medical imaging manager at Mammoth
Hospital in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Gary is a member of
AHRA and has been a professional in medical imaging
for 40 years. He can be contacted at gary.naron@