PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – JULY 2022
As this is my first message as President, I’d like to extend a warm greeting to you all. I am immensely proud to have been appointed to this role and I am very much looking forward to working with the rest of the Board, our CEO Sally Kincaid and the ASMIRT team. I would particularly like to thank outgoing President, Bronwyn Hilder, for all that she did throughout her tenure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been an inspiration, and I look forward to continuing the great work that she has done for the Society.
First, what a wonderful ASMIRT conference it was in Cairns! It was fantastic to be face-to-face with colleagues and friends after so long. There was a great energy in the air throughout the entire four days, and our thanks must go to conference co-convenors Millie Taylor-Brown and Janelle Couch, along with the conference committee, who did a fabulous job playing host and showing us all that Cairns has to offer; it certainly was a jam-packed program. If you attended, we hope you had a memorable conference experience, and came away reconnected, united and inspired.
Looming over the conference planning were the risks associated with running an event of this size during COVID-19. The conference events team talked long and hard about the levels of restrictions we should impose. Queensland Health had removed all relevant COVID-19 restrictions on 14 April – six weeks before the conference: no requirement for proof of vaccination and no requirement to temperature test or check in. The need to wear masks had been revoked sometime earlier. However, we felt that more stringent measures were required, hence the need for all delegates to provide evidence of being triple vaccinated, and our further requirement for every delegate to be temperature tested before entering the venue each day. So seriously did we take these requirements that we hired security guards to enforce this and ensure that Queensland Health’s directives were not only followed but were exceeded. We also initiated a ‘traffic light’ system of coloured lanyards to enable delegates to choose their own level of contact with other attendees. There was always going to be some risk attached to attending a large event – and travelling to and from it – and despite our best efforts there were a few cases that emerged shortly after the conference, inevitable given the widespread incidence of COVID-19. But we thank all delegates for their support of the measures we took, and the sensible way they all approached the event.
As this year’s conference was held during National Volunteer Week, it is timely that we recognise the wonderful work of the many volunteer members of the Society who sit on our committees, reference groups, branches and Board. We are ‘better together’ and thank you for all you do. One of my priorities as President will be to consolidate the relationships we currently have with our stakeholders and establishing new ones to the benefit of members and the wider professions across Australia, New Zealand and the world. In the closing ceremony at ASMIRT 2022 we were fortunate to hear from Dr Jonathan McNulty, who touched on the vision towards 2031 across medical radiation sciences, education, research and
practice in Europe. He also spoke of the increasing rate of change in health care and technology, and how we can all benefit; the profession, patients and the broader community.
I encourage you, our members, to continue to be advocates for your Society and your profession. You can do this by sharing our stories, attending our events, and actively engaging with us through our social media channels and within your own networks, from your colleagues through to your communities.
I look forward to connecting with you all in the months ahead.
Planning for the future
Starting a new year often brings with it the hope and anticipation of a productive 12 months. 2022 is no exception, as we forge on from the past two years of disruption, taking the lessons we learned and apply them to all aspects of the coming year. I have seen our members performing their work to the highest standards during the pandemic and know you have the skills to navigate what this year brings and made the medical radiation professions proud. As always, your Society continues to be a support for members, as we too progress with new ideas and ways of creating a better profession for all MRPs.
Key to this progression is our annual Branch Executives meeting. Held on Saturday 19 February, each state came together for wide ranging discussions around events (both educational and social), Branch operational procedures and how each state Branch is planning for the year ahead. Each year we also take the opportunity to review the Strategic Plan and ensure that we are on track to achieve our goals. Whilst Branch members again participated in this meeting via Zoom, we do hope to return to a face-to-face gathering very soon. I am so grateful to the Branch Executive and Committees for their dedication, and work they undertake for the Society and for the profession as a whole.
Our CPD team have been working hard behind the scenes and recently created a totally online platform for all our exams. As registrations for exams continues to grow, we have worked to remove barriers to attendance with the online platform, and exams are now being running inhouse. The impetus for this change came from the restrictions Covid-19 presented, including issues with closed exams sites and the lengthy lead times for exam preparations when using a third party. Being able to provide exams online means more reliability and greater flexibility, as they can now be held in your workplace. The team has also improved the exam syllabus and support for candidates is now ASMIRT staffed and readily available. Excitingly we hope to take these changes further; currently exams are being held three times a year, however we are working towards them being available on-demand all year round. Watch this space, get enthused and apply.
Talk of vaccinations is regularly at the forefront of conversations in allied health. I have been asked what the Society is doing to assist MRPs who do not wish to get vaccinated and are at risk of losing their jobs as a result. The answer is that, like all other peak bodies and organisations, ASMIRT can do very little as we are all obliged to abide by the dictates of our federal, state and facility regulations. The Society trusts that each state is working for benefit of all staff and patients in medical settings and that members follow the rulings mandated in each state.
One area we can certainly direct our excitement in 2022 is the annual conference in Cairns in May, where planning is progressing at a terrific rate. It really looks as if this event will be a great success, and the first opportunity for members and others to network face-to-face in a national forum for over two years. I highly recommend booking your flights and accommodation now before early bird registration closes at the end of the month.
Please continue to be vigilant about health and safety as we navigate another year of battling existing COVID strains and dealing with potential new ones. As my term as President will come to a close in May, I am already able to look back and say am very proud of all that the Society and you have achieved – the care and dedication you to show for your fellow colleagues and patients continues to shine through.