Two ABII diplomates share their distinctive approaches to this important professional obligation.
You could say that continuing education is a way of life for Jay Crawford. He calls it “lifetime learning,” and it’s taking him to another career level by pursuing a doctorate of health care administration, with an emphasis in informatics.
Bonus: those classroom hours will count for CIIP CE. And that’s not even why he’s doing it. In fact, he didn’t even think that it would count.
Jay sees CE in a different light than his academic pursuits. “It’s really more issue- and subject-driven, more specific and focused learning.”
Taking his lead from the ABII Test Content Outline, Jay has distilled those 10 broad skills categories into three fundamental components of the profession: clinical technology, IT and informatics, and administration. And he’s selecting CE topics accordingly.
“My knowledge from undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering put me on solid footing for the IT/informatics aspects of the profession,” he notes, “but I’m not an R.T. “ So to support that important aspect of his professional profile, Jay joined the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and has used its directed readings to meet CE requirements for CIIP. He looks for clinical applications and interesting cases to build his knowledge. “With our practice doing a lot of work with the North Carolina division of mental health and state prisons,” he recalls, “an article on ‘Imaging Foreign Bodies’ was truly enlightening.”
So what of the third fundamental grouping of skills? That’s where the doctorate studies in health care administration will round out the picture for Jay.
Jay recently took his lifetime learning approach one step further by presenting an informal teaching workshop series for future CIIPs. Built on the Practical Imaging Informatics text from the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), his series of didactic, project and discussion activities has already paved the way for two newly certified CIIPs.
Sylvia Devlin wouldn’t say that she’s one of those people who’s always in the right place at the right time. Believing that chance favors the prepared mind, she will admit that she was once in that serendipitous situation — selecting cutting-edge CE that led to a new job opportunity within just a few months.
At the 2012 SIIM meeting in Orlando, she attended a learning track of lectures about Enterprise Imaging Informatics. “At the time,” she recalls, “I was working as a PACS administrator for two ‘silo-model’ systems, radiology and cardiology.” But medicine as a whole was transitioning toward quality initiatives, which included patient-centered imaging. Within a few months, her employer initiated a new project that involved development of an enterprise image viewer application. With the SIIM sessions in her toolkit, she felt confident in her abilities, applied for the analyst position supporting the project and got the job.
Radiology-related CE is familiar territory for Sylvia. As a Registered Technologist in radiography, mammography and quality management, she has a firm foundation in clinical skills. In fact, some of the CE activities she completes for her ARRT requirements also do double duty for ABII.
Flash back to another right-place, right-time scenario: back in the 1990s, when computers were first appearing in imaging suites, she discovered she had a knack for the new-fangled equipment. So much so, in fact, that “Oh, Sylvia can figure that out” was often uttered by fellow R.T.s and managers alike. She was intrigued enough to earn a bachelor of science in information systems.
Radiology is changing still today, Sylvia notes, and she seeks out online CE to keep up with the pace. “But informatics is more fluid and changing at a faster pace, so I find that conferences are the best way for me to stay current.” She recommends SIIM as well as The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meetings as great CE sources. “And don’t overlook OTech,” she adds, “which offers a variety of seminars, study guides and self-study materials.” It was the OTech study guide, in fact, which she says best prepared her to pass the CIIP exam on her first attempt.
Now she’s on a path toward her master’s degree in health care informatics administration. With her R.T. background and IT undergraduate degree, she’s seeking additional skills like project management, health data management and relational databases to round out her imaging informatics CV and prepare her for future challenges.