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Abby M. Mumm B.S. R.T.(R), one of our radiologic technologists, shares her recent experience 2019 ASRT Educational Symposium and House of Delegates Meeting, June 20th – 23rd, 2019.

This past December, I was selected as alternate delegate to represent imaging professionals in the state of Minnesota at the American Society for Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) House of Delegates Meeting in Orlando, FL. The ASRT House of Delegates (HOD) is a legislative body that establishes practice standards for imaging professionals. The House currently consists of 60 voting chapter delegates and 108 affiliate delegates. Chapter delegates represent each imaging modality and four branches of the U.S. military. Affiliate delegates are state representatives that also have the responsibility of voting on measures. As alternate delegate, if one of the MN state affiliate delegates were unable to attend the meetings, I would have to take his/her place.  Over the next few months I prepared for this role by researching ASRT House of Delegates HOD procedures, examining the motions to change specific areas of the ASRT Practice Standards, and attending Delegate Orientation in May.

June 19th came around and before I knew it, I was on my way to Orlando. Five of us made the journey from MN: the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists (MSRT) President, the MSRT Chairman of the Board, the MSRT student society president, a student from a program in the Twin Cities that was selected through an essay writing process, and me, the MSRT Membership Chair. The MSRT President and Chairman of the Board serve as affiliate delegates. The event started on June 20th with an Educational Symposium comprised of multiple presentations related to the imaging field. Each hour would provide opportunity to attend breakout sessions and presentations of topics; each presentation fully attended was equivalent to one continuing education credit.  The first presentation I attended was “Is Leadership Your Super Power?” by Cathy Wolfe, Senior Director of Canon Medical Systems. The session offered opportunity for self-reflection and advice for leaders and future leaders. The next presentation, “How CMS Requirements Will Impact Imaging Orders in 2019 and Beyond” by Amanda Golsch, Senior Applications Engineer, was full of information pertaining to supported decision-making and Medicare reimbursement for proper imaging orders. I learned specific terms and the “behind the scenes” processes related to supported decision-making and orderable mapping.

In her presentation “Elevating the Profession”, Kelli Welch Haynes Ed.D. R.T.(R) shared facts about the imaging profession and about her doctorate research project concerning “the importance of professional values from a radiologic technologist’s perspective”. Dr. Haynes led us through a timeline of the imaging profession and the requirements to be a radiologic technologist. For example, in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, two years of radiology experience was recommended, but a person could be registry eligible with a radiologist’s reference. Today the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) mandates that accredited programs are to be at least 24 months long, with participants meeting various requirements for registry eligibility. The imaging profession has come a long way with respect to eligibility requirements and education standards. However, even with such advancements, the profession is not highly recognized. Radiologic technologists are the third largest group of allied healthcare providers, and yet we are still in the process of meeting the definition of “profession” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I left the room with new knowledge, guidance, and feeling incredibly inspired to continue to advocate for my profession!

Jennett Ingrassia MSRS R.T.(R) presented “The Joint Venture Between Staff Radiographer and the Student”. Having mentored students in a one-on-one format in the past, I was excited to build on my knowledge. Ways of learning, different types of feedback, theories of practice, and the importance of didactic and clinical education were a few of the topics discussed. Throughout the session, it became evident that I was one of few active technologists in and amongst educators. There were opportunities to share my perspective from the clinical standpoint, having mentored students and continued to be active in the imaging team.  The last presentation was “QAP to Confirm Image Quality and Patient Safety” by Nancy Merrill B.S. R.T.(R)(M)(CT), Director of Accreditation for the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). Nancy covered the quality assessment process for facilities, including the creation of a Quality Improvement Committee and required steps to develop a quality improvement process. Such a process includes assessing pre-imaging processes, imaging processes, quality of case studies and final reports, creation of QA questionnaires, the review process, corrective action, and emphasizing process rechecks.

After a day full of learning, it was time to have some responsible fun. To encourage networking and conversation, the ASRT holds a state pin exchange and an expo that showcases products and information. This year, us Minnesotans brought along pins that feature our State Fair and handmade pins that look like fishing poles with an actual small minnow lure! In exchange for MN pins, I received multiple pins from different states. Throughout the evening, I visited different expo booths, picking up new knowledge of technologies and processes, information about writing for the ASRT, CQR requirement information from the ARRT, and continuing education opportunities. It was an incredibly busy day, but wonderful nonetheless.

Bright and early Friday morning, the first House of Delegates meeting was underway. This meeting included an opening ceremony, presentation of the state flags by radiography students, presentation of the American flag, delegate count, introductions, a memorial presentation for imaging professionals that have passed, and the ASRT Presidential report. After commencement of the first meeting, ASRT CEO Sal Martino presented updates from the ASRT. Such updates included a rebranding for the ASRT’s centennial celebration next year and information pertaining to the 2020 House of Delegates meeting. A recap of member services was also included.  ARRT President Paul Larson, MD FACR, presented detailed information pertaining to CQR (Continuing Qualifications Requirements – a three-year process for registered technologists every ten years since their registration date), and information about advocacy, communication, and resources. Dr. Larson also shared that there are approximately 335,000 registered technologists in the United States, holding a collective 520,000 credentials to date. Wow! After the updates, a few of us were able to venture out to the east coast to visit the ocean before the evening events got underway.

Saturday was an information-filled day. At 8a.m., I attended the Open Forum on Proposed Changes to Practice Standards. The forum provided a detailed explanation of the Practice Standards; concisely speaking, the Standards define what our profession is and how we practice. In 2007, the Practice Standards were compiled for the ASRT, and between the years 2010-2018 two full revision cycles have been completed. The most recent revision included the merging of 13 different documents into one all-inclusive document. The Bylaws Open Forum was next, which included committee member recognition and a few updates. This year there were no proposed changes to the Bylaws. The Commission Hearing followed, and four motions for proposed changes to the ASRT Practice Standards were presented and discussed. After the hearing, we heard from the nominees for Speaker of the House and the Vice Speaker of the House. It was inspiring to hear about each individual’s experience and their vision and goals for the future of the ASRT and the profession.

Later that afternoon, I attended the Radiography Chapter meeting. Updates were covered and there was continued discussion about the main motions that were to be voted on at the second House of Delegates meeting. Attendees were informed that the Radiography Chapter was in compliance, as the minimum four delegate chairs were full. As per custom, Statements of Interest were read, allowing for comments and discussion. Questions about the current job market were asked, along with the future of the market. There was discussion following the question of students using radiography as a stepping stone to different modalities, versus pursuing a career in radiography. A notable comment was that some current employers are looking for technologists with different imaging knowledge and backgrounds, and if there is the opportunity to learn and immerse in different modalities, it would be an opportunity taken.

“Imaging is forever changing. Is this a good or a bad thing for the radiographer?” Asking such a question in a room full of educators and experienced technologists is going to spark discussion. These individuals have seen, worked with, and have taught about the technological advancements in all imaging modalities. When I first entered my radiology internship, it was highly stressed that if you were an imaging professional you were also a life-long learner. Such a concept was reemphasized as multiple imaging professionals approached the microphones to share experience, support for continuing education, support for continued quality control, and to stress the importance of setting and maintaining high standards. The conversation then addressed accountability, specifically in a technologist’s responsibility to the patient to maintain high professional expectations, perform within the Scope of Practice, and acquire optimal images. I could not contain my excitement, and I gradually made my way to a microphone. I shared that I am an active technologist, and I’ve been fortunate to have worked and currently work at a facility that holds high expectations of employed technologists. I shared how incredibly grateful I was that I have such passionate individuals in my corner, advocating and fighting for the imaging profession. The rest of Saturday was spent digesting new information, conversations, and a delicious meal enjoyed with my fellow Minnesotans.

Early Sunday morning the second House of Delegates meeting got underway. After the counting of the delegates, the Committee on Bylaws presented their report and noted no new changes to the Bylaws. The Commission Report presented motions recommended for adoption to the House. Of the four motions presented and voted upon, only one motion was defeated with original wording retained. The other three motions were adopted unanimously. There were no late main motions presented. I learned that “courtesy resolutions” are also “gratitude statements”, as the students from the Student Leadership Development Program prepared a statement thanking the ASRT for the opportunities they received. Before the conclusion of the second House of Delegates meeting, the election of the Speaker of the House and the Vice Speaker of the House took place. The race was close and required a second vote. With the elections completed, motions adopted, a motion defeated, and updates presented, the 34th annual meeting adjourned. It was time to go home.

I hadn’t set any expectations prior to attending, and even if I did, they would have been exceeded anyways! I gained knowledge, I networked, I met people from all experience levels, I observed as a group of like-minded professionals made decisions together for the entire imaging community, and I became even more inspired and motivated to research, share, and advocate for this profession that I am especially passionate about. The 2019 ASRT Educational Symposium and House of Delegates Meeting was an experience I will never forget and always be grateful for. As a nominee for Vice Speaker of the House said, “It’s not a House, it’s a home.”