2014-15 ISRT President
Heidi Sebastian, RT(R)(CT)
Presented at the 2014 Annual Conference Business Meeting
First, I would like to come clean with you - I do not enjoy writing speeches. I find it taxing and my students in attendance just found this fact interesting because they know I am passionate about my profession. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I would rather go “off the cuff” knowing what my task is and what my facts are which need to be presented. Isn’t that right, Cindy? This is one of the hardest tasks I have ever had to do because I do not want to bore you with statistics or numbers which will make you upset. I would rather inspire you to change something you are doing in order to make life better for you and others around you. So here we go.
Today, I follow in the prestigious footsteps of those who have come before me. What a legacy they have left for us – 75 Years of being a society that serves the needs of the Radiation and Medical Imaging Professionals and Students in the state of Indiana. I was at Starbucks one Saturday morning on my way into work and I two gentlemen were talking about Oprah Winfrey. They were talking about how she does all she can do and how she is seen by so many people as some kind of wonderful person because of what she does. My response to them was, “She has an excellent people underneath her helping her get to where she is, helping her do what she does, and helping her to be who she has become. She could never have done this without people.” We cannot continue to move along another 75 years without Medical Imaging Professionals diving in with their whole self to make their profession and their societies as wonderful as they can be.
Our theme for this Annual Conference is, “75 Years and Still Glowing.” I want to challenge you this thought: “Are we still glowing or have we burnt out somewhere along our course?” I would like for you to put one hand over your right eye. Look around the room for a minute. Now remove your hand from your eye. Can you see everything as clearly looking out of one eye as you could when you had both eyes?
Here’s the numbers thing: as of October 1, 2014, the ISRT had 170 Student members with 51 of these members participating in last night’s ISRT Student Radiography Quiz Bowl. Let’s give the students a hand for their dedication to their chosen profession. I would challenge you with this thought -
Are we living with an obstructed view of what really matters to our profession, our patients, and the public? What has really clouded our vision of our profession, our society? We need to focus on our vision and build on it in order to make it better than the way we found it. I am certain the students do not see our profession in the same light as the seasoned technologists.
I would like to take all of the registered technologists back in time to when you were in school to become a Sonographer, a Radiation Therapist, a MRI or CT Technologist, Cardiovascular or Interventional Technologist, Nuclear Medicine Tech, or Radiographer. Do you remember the passion and zeal you had for the profession? Do you remember your first chest x-ray, VQ scan, Therapy treatment? I’m fortunate as I get to re-live these experiences every year. I feel the passion the “newbies” have for my profession. I see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices, and watch it in their expressions. I imagine you went into our profession because you wanted to help people. But do we quit helping people just because we have clocked out for the day? How great would it be to keep giving after we clock out because we still have that passion stirring deep within us to give back to our profession? We need to focus on the goals that matter and rekindle the passion for our profession. We need to throw our whole selves in to our profession if we want to see change and make change happen.
I am asked frequently, “What does the ISRT do for me? They just want my money.” I can give you some answers – We provide opportunities. One of my colleagues challenges our students with opportunities instead of tests and quizzes. The opportunities the ISRT provides its members allows for professional growth much like the opportunities John Hughey provides his students allowing them to grow professionally. We have CE opportunities, Scholarship opportunities, and Friendship opportunities. I have made friends at ISRT meetings, which have helped me to grow more personally, and professionally than I ever thought possible. For that I am eternally grateful.
Another benefit of the ISRT is experts such as Liana Watson addressed yesterday in her talk on Practice Standards. If we can only see where we've been and we cannot see the future then there is little hope. We learn from our past so we don't repeat the mistakes in our past but we must have a vision for the future or we will not go any further. Leaders like Sarah Baker, Peggi Drown, Bruce Long, Donna Long, Jane Patton, and Pam Tubbs. Some of these leaders were responsible for getting licensure and helping maintain licensure in Indiana for Radiographers. Some may argue this was a good thing, as it helps provide security in our profession, and other will argue against it mainly because it costs them money to maintain every two years. I have heard my students and graduates talk about licensure and that it will never go away so we have nothing to fear and no need to push for national standards for Medical Imaging Professionals. “Just don’t go work in a non-licensure state and you won’t have to worry,” some have said. Not all licensure is the same and I know this from being a licensed RT from Ohio who moved to Indiana. What happens when our society dies? Who will be a voice for those working in our profession? I have watched many things happen in our economy, government, and health care system this year. I have heard many states having issues with legislation in their state, which could affect the life of many registered radiologic technologists in a negative manner. This is just one thing the ISRT does for its members. The society works to advance the professions of radiation therapy and medical imaging but we cannot do it on our own. We need our members to take ownership in their profession and be passionate about their profession. We are Registered Radiologic Technologists and we should take pride in this fact!
In closing I would like to leave you with this thought and challenge- without a vision the people perish. What is your vision for your profession? Do you envision it to be played like the hokey pokey where you only put part of yourself in? You know you put your right hand in and then you put your right hand out. By the end of the song you have to put your whole self in and turn yourself about. So many people address things in life today in a manner much like the hokey pokey but they quit before they put their whole self in.
So what if those who came before us quit before they put their whole self in? What if Phil Ballinger quit when Vinita Merrill addressed him about his desire for a Procedures Manual? Bruce, do you think we would have Merrill's today? Can we really afford to address our professional organizations in such a manner or is it time for you to put your whole self into the wonderful profession you have had a desire to be a part of once upon a time?