Getting Involved in Your State Affiliate
Posted March 19, 2015
By Sandra Hayden, president-elect
You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
-- Winston Churchill
As a student in my radiation therapy program, I was introduced to the Michigan Society of Radiologic Technologists (MSRT). I attended my first meeting in Flint, Michigan. I went to meet Ed Burns, the coordinator of the education session for District 4, and told him how exciting it was to be a part of something so worthwhile and meaningful. A few years passed, and before I knew it I had several more mentors, including two from my program: Diane Chadwell and Adam Kempa. They taught me so much, including how to submit for continuing education before it was mandatory, and groomed me for leadership and educational opportunities. I became a part of the Radiation Therapy district for the entire state and, at my first state lecture in Traverse City, Michigan, I was happy to stand before my peers to share the research that I was working on with Dr. Wayne Court on circadian rhythms and cancer treatment timing. As I went to the business meetings and attended the ceremonial officer installation, I said to myself, “I want to be up there helping to shape my profession.”
On the radiography side I had support from Ed Burns, G. Tim Wescott, Joe Prevo, Robert Nelson and a host of others. During this time, graduate radiologic technologists could take the ARRT exam as many times as they wanted. Meanwhile, Michigan was not and still is not a regulated state as it pertains to being educationally prepared and clinically competent. This was evident in my job, where some my co-workers were not ARRT-registered radiation therapists. At this time the field was growing and my mentor, Shirley N. Smith, organized courses for those whose education did not fulfill the requirements to sit for the exam. Together we had exam review courses at my place of employment for those who were “grandfathered in.” These sessions were supported by the MSRT, and my employer allowed many the opportunity to learn and to improve the quality of patient care. Yes, this was all done through my state affiliate.
Ed Burns nominated me for secretary of the MSRT Board of Directors, and when I was elected my volunteerism went from modality-specific to multi-modality. At that time, the MSRT was also Region 6 of the ASRT. Our region was very active, especially with the likes of our current ASRT chair, Julie Gill, and Nina Kowalczyk, just to name a few. I had the honor of being around great professionals who sacrificed for our profession, our students and our patients every day.
I partnered with District 8 and we held seminars together. Lisa Pelzer, Adam Kempa, Denice Nichols and I spent many weekends and evenings preparing CE opportunities for our members. All of the individuals that I have mentioned are still a part of my life. They are like family to me. I even received a job with my mentor, Shirley N. Smith, at Baker College.
I’ve also been able to mentor others: Terry Pranger-Marvin, who was my student and who I later hired, has been active as a registrar at the Michigan affiliate’s annual conference; Michelle Fortner took over for me at the MSRT after I moved to Texas; and Chris Boyce, who developed the MSRT’s first website and who I met while treating his father, went on to become a radiation therapist himself.
Words cannot fully express my sincere gratitude and the fulfillment that I received from volunteering. I know many others share stories similar to my own. Get involved – you will not regret it. Here are a few links for those who want to learn more about the work of our state affiliates and how you too can be a part of something great!
Affiliate Connection newsletters
ASRT Leadership Academy
State Legislative Affairs