For Donita Shipman
, RT(R)(M)(QM), radiology control technologist at Bothwell Regional Health Center
in Sedalia, Mo., and executive treasurer and membership chairman for the Missouri Society of Radiologic Technologists
(MSRT), working to pass licensure requirements in her
home state is a personal passion. Shipman
has educated her
friends and family to ask questions concerning their health care, and says her
hope is to make her
state safe for all patients.
"I see on a daily basis how the average consumer has blind trust in their health care providers," Shipman
said."Many of them never ask any questions about their care.They just assume that they are being taken care of by qualified personnel, when in fact, those persons providing care can have no education in the tasks they are performing."
In Missouri anyone can be deemed capable of taking X-rays with only a few hours of on-the-job training, Shipman
"Often times in the physician's office, the ‘training' comes from a person who either had no training, or was trained by the last ‘non-registered' person who did the job," she
says grassroots advocacy is a powerful tool to present a voice and get the message out in the public forum, and each RT can take advantage of the power he
has as a voting citizen.
"Each person needs to get to know their legislators personally and educate them about our concerns," she
It was through one of the MSRT members that the group was able to secure a sponsor for licensure legislation in the House.
"[One of the members] had helped him on his
election campaign," Shipman
explained."This is why I believe that the grass-roots effort is very important."
Town hall meetings and other such public events are also great opportunities to educate the public and politicians about issues.
"This is the place to prop yourself up as the expert so they can call on you if they have questions," Shipman
Another way to build relationships with legislators is to invite them to visit the facility where you work, so they can see what you do, and the level of expertise and skill required to perform your job.
"You can get a personal relationship going that can lead to good things," Shipman
Never give up
Although advocating for quality assurance on the legislative level can be a tough road, the key thing to remember is that persistence pays off.For 20 of the last 24 years, the MSRT
has filed for licensure legislation in the state only to be disappointed as the bills get lost in the committees.But there is always reason to hope and to press on, Shipman
"The only advice I can give is to never give up!"she
Currently, bills to license RTs are in both the Missouri House and Senate legislatures.The House version is in the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee
and had a hearing on Tuesday, March 16, where members of the MSRT
and students donned in white lab coats testified on the importance of creating minimum standards for radiologic technologists.Shipman
remains hopeful that all the years of toil and turmoil will come to fruition, and said changes are already starting to occur slowly.