CONFERENCE CALL INTERVIEW OF SHARON WARD
With Martha Pickett interviewing
MS. PICKETT: How did you first become involved with Chapter leadership?
MS. WARD: I think that would best be answered by what I did locally. We have a local Nuclear Medicine Technologists of Arkansas group. I became involved with it as an officer and helped to organize our meetings. I then decided that it would be a good idea as a professional to get involved at the Chapter level.
I wrote a letter to the Technologist Section President, Glenn Smith, and asked if I could serve on a committee or do something to help the Chapter, and he put me on a committee, and the next year I was put on the ballot as President-Elect without much experience. That's a brief history on how I got involved. Once you volunteer for something, suddenly you're on every ballot and getting elected!
I served as President from '87 to '88. I served as Secretary/Treasurer from '91 to '92, and then became involved with the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section as National Secretary/Treasurer in '91-'92. I also served on various committees both on the Chapter and National levels.
MS. PICKETT: What are the highlights of your time with the Chapter and what makes you most proud?
MS. WARD: I guess it's hard for me to remember that. I think the most outstanding thing that I can remember was going to the different meetings with the Southwestern Chapter and that we were working towards a common goal. Everyone was there not simply to get continuing education hours: the professionalism of nuclear medicine technologists was on the top of everybody's mind as we pursued elevating our jobs to a higher professional status. The Technologist Section program at the Southwestern Chapter was a very strong program, and has continued to grow in strength over the years.
MS. PICKETT: Who is the most memorable person you have come into contact within Chapter leadership?
MS. WARD: Probably my experience would be with the Southwestern Chapter Technologist Section. When I had just come on board there, I met Art Hall who was a Past President, and Art came up to me and said, “Did you know that I'm the National Council Delegate for the Tech Section of the Southwestern Chapter?” And there he was with his bolo tie, and I thought he was such a Texas hick at the time. I didn't know who on earth he was. But over the years I have felt like Art was probably one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Technologist Section, and he has continued to this day to work very hard to further nuclear medicine technologists in our profession. And every time I see him now at a meeting—and I realize he's a vendor now rather than an actual technologist working in the field—I have a lot of respect for the man, and I think he has done a lot for our profession.
MS. PICKETT: What is special or unique about Southwestern Chapter?
MS. WARD: I have not traveled to any of the other chapters in the Society of Nuclear Medicine, so I really have nothing to compare with. I know that our Chapter is very technologist oriented, and the technologists are given a very good role within the Chapter. We are not put on the sideboard. We're allowed to share what we feel about the Society of Nuclear Medicine and the meetings and the planning for the meetings. I've always been very proud of that because I know that the physicians actually control the Southwestern Chapter agendas, but they've been very gracious to us and have asked our opinions and have gone along most of the time with what we like - maybe not all the time - but it is oriented towards technologists and students, and I've always been very proud of that.
MS. PICKETT: Irrespective of Chapter involvement, what are some highlights of your own practice of nuclear medicine?
MS. WARD: Most of my highlights come from being a working technologist for about five years, a program director for about 10 or 11 years, and a supervisor of the Nuclear Medicine Department at my hospital for nine years. I've seen our profession from the working side, the management side, and the educator's side, and I think that it has grown tremendously over the years.
I'm very proud of the way that nuclear medicine has not died out like I always heard it would in the early '80s, that we would be replaced by MRI or some other imaging modality. It hasn't been true, and we have really held out and come to the forefront of medical imaging. I have also been very proud in that we've advanced much higher than I ever thought that we would, and I think that we've got a long ways to go. We're certainly not a dying technology, and I believe that we have really, really come a long way.
MS. PICKETT: What do you believe is the future direction of nuclear medicine?
MS. WARD: Of course, I'm sure everybody has answered the same way. PET and PET/CT seems to be the forerunner for us, and as an educator, I have really appreciated the Southwestern Chapter and their concentration on teaching us about PET and the PET/CT as a new modality. I have to come back and teach our students the same things that I learn.
The new therapies such as the Zevlin and the Bexxar therapies have been very exciting, especially with the excellent results that we have had from in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I believe that nuclear medicine is now more integrated as a profession with not just the specialty areas in radiology, but we have become very global within the hospital.
We are integrated with oncology, family practice, and endocrinology. Just about every facet of the hospital has some link with nuclear medicine now, and we have become valuable within the community.