February 2016 • Vol.5, Issue 1
Leslie Winter on Her Role and the Challenges Facing Our Profession
Leslie Winter, M.S., R.T.(R) , is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). She was recently invited by the JRCERT Board of Directors to respond to questions about the responsibilities of a CEO, and offer her comments on the role of the JRCERT and the challenges facing radiologic technology.
This article from the JRCERT is based on content previously published by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and is used with permission of the ASRT.
Q. What is a typical day like at the JRCERT office?
A. That’s an interesting question because I do not believe there is a “typical day” at the JRCERT. I always tell new employees that if they have a “to do” list for the day, chances are that list will not get completed! Many people find that type of work atmosphere very frustrating. I enjoy it because there are no 2 days that are exactly alike in the JRCERT office. A small office poses many challenges for a CEO because you have limited resources to depend on, such as human resources, marketing, or a finance department. If, for example, the JRCERT needed to modify a personnel policy, there would be no opportunity to walk down the hallway to the human resources department to ask for assistance! As CEO, I would need to develop the policy, review it with independent legal counsel, and then gain final approval from our Board of Directors prior to implementation of the policy.
The JRCERT does a tremendous amount of consulting throughout the day via telephone or e-mail. I am also responsible for investigating complaints lodged against our programs. Internal issues are challenging, but I also have to pay close attention to external factors such as the activities of the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA); these organizations have a significant impact on the JRCERT’s daily operations.
Q. What are your primary responsibilities as CEO of the JRCERT?
A. My primary responsibilities include:
Q. Who were your mentors when you began your JRCERT career?
A. When I first began my career at the JRCERT in 1995, there was lack of agreement among the professional organizations in several areas. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) decided to accept regional accreditation as an acceptable mechanism to be eligible for the credentialing examination. Our directors were being directly appointed by the various professional organizations (American Society of Radiologic Technologists, American College of Radiology, Association for Medical Imaging Management, etc.), vs the Board electing to fill Board positions from a slate of candidates provided by the professional organizations. The JRCERT Board was “finding its way” during this transitional period and having some difficulties determining what was best for the organization, which led to tension between management and the Board. With all of the external and internal pressures present at that time, finding a positive mentor was difficult.
There are, however, 2 individuals who did provide me with tools to grow: Janis Stiewing, M.S., R.T.(R)(CV)(M), director 1997-2000 and chair 2001-2003; and Sara Baker , Ed.D., R.T.(R), FASRT director 1996-2002. These 2 individuals provided me the guidance I needed to be successful at the JRCERT. As I worked through the ranks of the organization and became CEO in 2007, the relationship I developed with the directors became more important to my development and the success of the organization. Many of the past and present directors have been incredible mentors to me.
Q. What, in your opinion, are the challenges we face in our profession?
A. The JRCERT’s key challenge is addressing the lack of understanding of the importance and value of accreditation; especially when it comes to individual state regulations that accept both regional and programmatic accreditation. With regional accreditation, there is no assurance that the clinical component of the program is evaluated during the accreditation process, therefore jeopardizing patient care and safety. With all of the emphasis on radiation protection and regulatory efforts, programmatic accreditation plays a vital role in assuring the clinical component is not only educationally valid, but also provides a safe environment for both patients and students.
Q. How is the JRCERT addressing this key challenge?
A. We continue to be proactive and educate all communities of interest so they understand the importance and value of programmatic accreditation, especially those that are instrumental in developing state legislation impacting our profession. We also continue to keep the public informed on the value of programmatic accreditation to assure that dollars spent for higher education are based on sound and informed decision making.
Q. What would you say to a new graduate and an individual 5 years postgraduation?
A. New graduates need to embrace continual learning and stay active in the professional societies. Your work and attitude must reflect professionalism and pride. You must always demonstrate the values and ethics that reflect the highest standards of our profession.
For the radiologic technologist employed longer than 5 years in the profession, it’s time to give back to the profession and become more actively involved. Be a mentor to someone. Demonstrate strong leadership skills and continue to be an advocate for the profession.
Q. If I were a program director, what recommendations would you give for my program to achieve the maximum accreditation award?
A. The JRCERT offerse numerous resources to assure that program directors are successful during the continuing accreditation process and that they have the tools needed to maintain “academic excellence” on a daily basis. The JRCERT Web site is an excellent tool and has an abundance of resources. If you click on the Program & Faculty tab you can find learning modules that range from developing an assessment plan to submitting an acceptable interim report. We are currently developing an “Assessment Corner” on the Web site that will contain additional assessment resources. The JRCERT’s Pulse e-newsletter is another excellent resource for programs. The Pulse is published biannually after our Board of Directors’ meetings in April and October. Attending a JRCERT Accreditation Seminar or an Outcomes Assessment Workshop is tremendously helpful for program directors if the program is preparing for a self-study report or an interim report.
Q. Many government regulations apply to patient safety in radiology. What role does programmatic accreditation play with regard to patient safety?
A. Many government regulations affect patient safety. The JRCERT is not only concerned about the optimal use of radiation; we are also committed to assuring that the overall health and safety of patients and students is protected. It’s critical that the JRCERT stay abreast of the ever-changing health care industry safety guidelines so that patient and student safety can be appropriately reflected throughout the JRCERT Standards.
Signals is a publication produced four times per calendar year by the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine for the benefit of the SMRT membership and those individuals and organizations that support the educational programs and professional advancement of the SMRT and its members. The newsletter is the compilation of editor, Julie Strandt-Peay, BSM, RT (R)(MR) FSMRT, the leadership of the SMRT and the staff in the ISMRM Central Office with contributions from members and invited participants.