The place for professional networking
As part of the strategic planning process for the College, I have been thinking a lot about why radiologists would want to be members of professional organizations.
In these days of increasing demands for our time and our money, our professional organizations need to empower us to be more valuable to our patients, referring physicians, and health systems. One way our societies provide value is through creating opportunities for networking with our colleagues. Networking at meetings allows us to learn from one another, continue our education, develop teamwork and leadership skills, recognize each other’s achievements, and establish camaraderie with new colleagues. While our large national meetings provide countrywide networking opportunities, many times our most valuable relationships are developed closer to home. I recently had the privilege of representing the College at the Florida Radiological Society, and I was reminded of the many reasons our state chapters provide some of the best ways for establishing, enhancing, and developing professional relationships.
Putting together state chapter meetings provides opportunities for developing teamwork skills. The program for the Florida meeting was outstanding and obviously required a lot of teamwork. Working on program committees and educational committees within the state chapter provides a great vehicle for learning and fine-tuning vital team-based leadership skills. Work within the state chapter also enhances radiologists’ leadership skills by providing opportunities to work with others from diverse age groups, cultures, and backgrounds. We are able to share our leadership skills and styles and, at the same time, learn from our colleagues whose approaches to problems may be different from our own. Since the state chapter leadership changes frequently, there is a constant influx of new ideas. And functioning as part of the state chapter team teaches us to be receptive to new ideas and hopefully to be flexible in our thinking. Team-based problem solving will be a requisite skill for our practices as we enhance and develop team-based models for patient care. Work within our state chapters will provide many of the skills we need to take back to our practices to enhance team-based care in our health systems.
For just a few hours a month, meaningful participation in our state chapters can enhance not only our personal and professional skills, but our practices as well.
State chapter meetings also provide numerous opportunities to enhance our communication skills. Whether making presentations at meetings or just mingling with the other attendees, our chapter meetings provide multiple venues to enhance our effectiveness in communication. Contributing articles or coordinating activity around chapter publications, such as newsletters, websites, and social media, can develop communication skills we can take back to our practices as we seek to enhance our own reputations and relevance to our patients and health systems. We can learn a lot from our colleagues by engaging in this work through the state chapter process.
Networking also provides us an opportunity to develop and enhance relationships with our colleagues. In particular, young radiologists in residency and fellowship programs should take advantage of state chapter meetings to connect with people who may be looking for young radiologists to join their practices or who could be otherwise helpful in the job search by providing contacts and recommendations. Many state chapters have Resident and Fellow Sections, another great way for young radiologists to become engaged with colleagues.
State chapters are also a great way for us to recognize our colleagues’ efforts on behalf of the organization and our specialty. When I was at the meeting in Florida, the chapter awarded its gold medal to two outstanding radiologists, Douglas N. Hornsby, MD, and Joseph G. Cernigliaro, MD, FACR. Both of the deserving individuals had distinguished records of service to the chapter and to radiology in Florida. One of the recipients, Dr. Cernigliaro, also serves on the ACR’s Council Steering Committee. So for some, myself included, service in our state organizations often leads to opportunities to become more involved in our national organizations.
Active engagement in our state chapters not only provides radiologists with the ability to develop a robust list of professional contacts but also helps us enhance our existing leadership skills and learn some new ones. Yet despite all of these opportunities, most radiologists are only passive members of our organizations. There may be a number of reasons radiologists are not more active participants in our state chapters, including not recognizing the potential benefits or anxiety over commitment, but most likely it’s because we believe we don’t have enough time. However, by not participating we are denying ourselves some of the most valuable benefits of membership. And for just a few hours a month, meaningful participation in our state chapters can enhance not only our personal and professional skills, but our practices as well.
By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, Chair