Q&A with Deena Slockett, MBA, RT(R)(M), Radiology Educator at Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences in Orlando, Florida
Deena Slockett is an associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Radiologic Sciences at Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences (FHCHS). She specializes in diagnostic imaging, advanced imaging, leadership, business and marketing. Deena is ARRT-certified in radiology and mammography, and has an AS in radiologic sciences, a BS in healthcare administration and an MBA in business administration. She is also pursing an EdD in organizational leadership, to be completed in 2012. Deena encourages others in the radiology field to "seek opportunities, be ready for challenges and embrace the experiences you have each day."
Q: What motivated you to become a radiology professional? What motivated you to become involved in radiology education?
A: The idea that I could be of help to individuals in need has always been the platform from which I lead. A career in the imaging sciences has provided me with the vehicle to serve others, gain advanced education in the medical profession as well as business, and assume multifaceted roles. I enjoy learning, and the ability to work directly with others who have the same desire and passion is fulfilling. I am rewarded daily by the successes of our students, graduates and faculty.
Q: What can you tell our readers about Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences?
A: FHCHS is a private Adventist College that seeks to provide both clinical and faith based leaders in the healthcare industry. FHCHS is a relatively small college, with a big purpose, that is demonstrated daily in the communities we serve.
FHCHS offers professional programs in nurse anesthesia, nursing, occupational therapy, nuclear medicine, diagnostic medical sonography and radiologic sciences. Additionally, FHCHS offers bachelor's degrees in the health sciences and pre-med tracks.
Q: What's it like working at FHCHS?
A: FHCHS is a mission- and vision- oriented college. Our vision is defined in four words: Nurture, Excellence, Spirituality, and Stewardship. It is these four words that provide the foundation to deliver high quality education in an environment that cultivates community.
Q: When and how did you start at the school?
A: I attended a hospital-based program at Florida Hospital, which later transitioned to FHCHS. I began as a technologist assistant then graduated with my AS and worked in the imaging department for a number of years. After a few years in imaging, while I was pursuing my BS degree, I served as a guest lecturer in the Radiography program at FHCHS as well as an adjunct clinical instructor.
This role grew into a full-time faculty position and, after much growth and advancement, my current role as an Assistant Chair for the Department of Radiologic Sciences and Program Coordinator for the Radiography Program.
Q: Typically, what are your day-to-day responsibilities as an assistant chair and program coordinator at FHCHS?
A: The main focus each day is to ensure that students, faculty, and adjunct faculty have the resources, information and time to do the tasks needed to deliver quality care to our patients. Having a team that knows what is expected of them and has the ability to think independently and outside the box creates a dynamic learning environment.
Q: Do you ever encounter patients directly? What advice do you have for your students who work with patients?
A: I occasionally encounter patients; however, I have a robust team of faculty members that are dedicated to the clinical education environment. Additionally, each facility that the students intern at has an onsite adjunct clinical faculty member as a mentor.
Always put your patients first-treat each person as if their need is the most important. You may have ten chest X-rays to complete that morning, but your patient only has one. It should be each of our goals to ensure that the radiographs we obtain are of the highest quality, in the safest environment, and that we provide optimal images to ensure appropriate interpretation by the physician.
Q: Can you talk about your doctorate coursework?
A: I am a doctoral student pursuing education in organizational leadership at Pepperdine University in California. This is a hybrid program that requires a significant amount of face-to-face time (60%) as well as fulfilling the online component (40%). I commute to California from Florida about every seven weeks to complete intensive course work on Pepperdine's campus. My areas of research interest include: servant leadership, organizational development, principles of work-life balance and succession planning.
Q: Are you currently involved with any research projects?
A: I am currently preparing for my dissertation that will seek to determine to what extent, if at all, there is any relationship between physicians who are servant leaders and their work-life balance.
Q: What are the greatest challenges you face as assistant chair and program coordinator at the school?
A: The greatest challenge is keeping up with technology. The field of imaging has created a technological revolution in healthcare. One of our focuses is to ensure our students are getting the most up-to-date information and have access to the resources to fully engage in this profession. We have had the opportunity to design a state of the art learning lab that is fully energized and compatible with the digital imaging system at Florida Hospital.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Having a passion for what you do makes work enjoyable. I enjoy the relationships between students, faculty, staff and clinical professionals the most. It is from these relationships that a community has evolved, supporting our student body, graduates and alumni.
Q: Do you feel that the role of radiology professionals has changed over recent years?
A: Imaging professionals have gained a front row seat to delivering the highest diagnostically valuable images through advanced technology. More professionals understand that imaging is also a business, and to conduct and grow that business they must be instrumental in meeting and exceeding the needs of their organization. Imaging professionals are going back to obtain advanced degrees in business, human resources, marketing and leadership. It is through this advanced education and experience that they are able to reemerge in the field as leaders.
Q: What do you feel is of the greatest concern to radiology professionals?
A: Radiation safety is one of the greatest concerns today. Imaging professionals must learn about the equipment that they operate, understand the ramifications of unsafe imaging and stay abreast of best practices in the industry.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your position? What is the most rewarding part of working with students?
A: Students are immersed in the program from day one. The educational curriculum is rigorous, in some cases a steep learning curve, and a demanding schedule all come at a price. Students must discover how to balance work, life and a myriad of other responsibilities to be successful in a professional program. To assist the student in navigating their career path and see them emerge just a few years later as competent and professional radiographers is rewarding.
Q: What is the most important thing you've learned over the course of your career?
A: Seek opportunities, be ready for challenges and embrace the experiences you have each day.
Q: What advice do you have for others thinking of entering radiology education?
A: There is no wrong time to continue your education. Your education is the best gift you can give yourself—once you have it, it cannot be taken away.
Q: Has working in education allowed you to grow professionally?
A: Absolutely. I have found my passion and strengthened the foundation from which I started with in the field of imaging. While I have continued my education, I have also stopped to seek learning opportunities that are not grounded in the brick and mortar of colleges. Being open to new experiences and meeting challenges head on has allowed me to test the waters and create my own learning lab.
Q: If you could sum up your job in one word, what would it be and why?
A: Leader. You don't need a title, a job description or a diploma to be a leader. This quality is the core of who I am. I seek to lead; but first I must follow.
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