Why leadership in radiology is more than just a title
Strong leadership skills are increasingly needed given the additional challenges that include a new generation of workers entering the labor market, as well as the recognition of the need for more diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI ) in all industries, not just healthcare.
Fortunately, there are resources and tools available that will help today’s radiology leaders achieve what many key opinion leaders we spoke with are the secret to effective organizations: leadership is more than a simple title.
Why leadership needs to be different in 2022
Leadership in radiology today must be different than it was when radiologists completed their training 30 years ago, says Dr. Frank Lexa, chief medical officer at the American College’s Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI). of Radiology (ACR).
Dr. Frank Lexa.
“Things are more complicated,” Lexa said. “There are greater economic pressures on radiologists. It’s different today than it was 30 years ago. There’s a greater need for coordination and collaboration, a need to play well and to work with others outside of radiology. You have to be collaborative.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on day-to-day radiology operations and tested how well radiology can respond to unprecedented transformation.
“COVID is just one example of where you need to be able to handle the unexpected,” Lexa said. “You have to be able to change things quickly when the circumstances call for it. COVID is a case study.”
The pandemic has made it clear that everyone in the radiology space – radiologists, technologists and administrators – have had to make major changes and that leadership is about the actions that are taken and not the title that one holds, according to Lexa.
“We had to rethink how we clean the scanner, how we protect ourselves, how we protect patients and their families,” Lexa said. “And we had to deal with the fact that if three radiologists fell ill, we were sometimes short-staffed. Some people only worked from home.”
Dealing with the “great resignation”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about what is by far the greatest challenge facing radiology leaders today: the great resignation, a wave of retirements and job changes that have left short-staffed organizations around the world.
“I think this is the biggest challenge facing radiology leaders today,” said AHRA CEO Dan Kelsey. “The one thing I hear from some of our members is that staffing impacts professional development budgets and other opportunities for staff to receive training.”
Needless to say, staffing issues make succession planning extremely difficult, Kelsey noted.
“Succession planning is very difficult to even think about,” Kelsey said. “People are not available to cover other people. If someone is trying to learn new skills or deepen their skills, they can’t really take the time to do it because there is no one there. who wants to cover them.”
Meeting new expectations
According to Myke Kudlas, Associate Executive Director of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), another major challenge facing radiology leaders today is adapting their management style to the expectations of a new generation of workers, namely Generation Z.
Kudlas points out that as Gen Z begins to populate the radiology workforce, radiology leaders will need to adapt to changing expectations.
“As Gen Z enters the workforce, the transition will be to a workforce that is digitally savvy, expects transparency from management, and wants to work in an increasingly diverse in terms of workforce and work assignments,” Kudlas said.
Indeed, Gen Z workers may not see the point of holding in-person meetings when there are time-saving alternatives through technology.
“Hour-long department meetings, for example, might be a thing of the past, as younger technologists prefer to be digitally notified of department changes,” Kudlas said. “These changes on the pitch and in the workforce are going to require growth from everyone, especially current leaders, which may be uncomfortable for some.”
Programs focus on leadership
Fortunately, there are a variety of programs available that can help leaders in today’s radiology organizations adapt to the changing environment and develop leadership skills between themselves and their staff.
ASRT offers a student leadership development program that involves selected individuals committing to a three-year program where participants can learn about ASRT, attend educational sessions, and network with industry professionals. medical imaging and radiotherapy.
During this time, the AHRA has developed a continuing education program called the Leaders of Choice program which is designed to develop senior level leaders among radiology administrators. The program is supported by funding from medical imaging provider United Imaging.
The year-long program consists of an initial half-day workshop held at the 2022 AHRA Annual Meeting in Phoenix July 10-12, followed by nine webinars and culminating with a session at the AHRA 2023.
“The webinars will cover many business-focused topics,” including finance and human resources, said David Waldron, CEO of Traction Business Development and speaker at AHRA 2022. Traction worked with AHRA on program content.
Program participants will work on a capstone project – a multi-faceted body of work that will serve as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students – and present their project at AHRA 2023.
“Each will be working on a different project that will be relevant to their own work situation,” Waldron said. “At the 2023 annual meeting, they will present their flagship project. It would be like a graduation ceremony.”
Leadership in radiology in 2022 must be patient-centered, Waldron believes.
“How can you treat a patient in such a way that they go back to their primary care physician and say the radiology was a really great experience?” he said. “Make sure your employees are providing the best patient experience possible. You need to understand the sequence of patients in the system and make sure you create the right bridges and processes with the other departments that are all involved. »
For radiologists, ACR’s Radiology Leadership Institute offers a program that helps them develop their leadership skills. Lexa thinks the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that true leadership isn’t just about titles,
“It really highlighted one of the notions of leadership that we talk about a lot at the Radiology Leadership Institute, which is that being a leader isn’t about having a title,” Lexa said. It’s about the function and the tasks you perform.”
Now in its 10th year, the RLI offers a pathway to leadership that Lexa says is considerably less of a financial investment than completing an MBA program, essentially offering a better return on investment. (KING).
“Other (usually younger) radiologists often ask me if they should get an MBA,” Lexa said. “My short answer is we should talk because it depends. When I talk to them, I can help them figure out if they really need the degree or if they want to learn more about leadership. If that’s “they need leadership training, they should definitely go to RLI because it’s inexpensive and very convenient.”
The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion
With a diverse patient population continually interacting with radiology, ASRT notes the importance of increasing the diversity of radiology technologists and radiology leaders and ensuring inclusiveness in leadership, Kudlas said. To this end, ASRT recently created the Diversity Leadership Development Program (DLDP).
“This new program will work continuously and systematically to ensure that all of our members’ voices are heard at the leadership level of ASRT and, by extension, will help share the skills our members need to improve the diversity of the leadership in their respective institutions,” Kudlas said.
The AHRA has also advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through its committees and continues to make DEI a priority, according to Kelsey.
“We continue to try to make progress so that the association as a whole better reflects the emerging profession,” Kelsey said, noting that the association’s past president, current president and president-elect are all women. “I think in terms of other aspects of DEI, we recognize where we are and where we need to go.”
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