Ultrasound in a nutshell

Loved Stacey’s ultrasound blog posting, summing up it all up:

now don’t get me wrong…….
there are many rewards to this job, beyond the paycheck. salary varies with your geographical location, demand for qualified personnel in that area, and of course experience.
every day i got to work, i make a difference in some one’s life. this may sound corny, but it’s true. ultrasound is one of the single most difficult modalities. it is completely operator dependent, i can make pathology disappear by the way i set the buttons on the machine, i can make an artifact look like a tumor, by the way i set the machine. so you better have a certified sonographer behind the wheel.

a patient comes in for a specific exam as ordered by their doctor, in the process of examining this patient, i find something outside of the scope of this exam (as ordered). this is what we call an incidental finding. not a part of your normal exam, but hey once i see it, i have to document it and the radiologist has to report it. some incidental findings are as mild as a cyst on your kidney, or gallstones. i have also found incidental findings of renal cancer, aortic aneurysm, ovarian tumors, liver cancer, breast cancer and as recently as this weekend air in the left hepatic vein. (air in your veins, not a good idea) i made a difference to everyone of these people. early detection is key, who knows how long these things would have gone undiagnosed, maybe i increased their chances, even a little. i know what i do matters, you can’t put a price on that.

my job is challenging, i learn something new every day, i have been in ultrasound for 11 years, (radiology 16) i will never reach the point of knowing it all, or seeing it all. in my opinion, any sonographer who claims they know everything there is to know about ultrasound is a dangerous person. besides learning something new everyday. i work with a group of radiologist who are one of the finest i have ever worked with, these guys know their stuff, and they’re good, damn good. i can take a case to them and say, i’m baffled here, what is going on, and get an answer. no condescension, no why didn’t you know this. they work with you, because they depend on you. the radiologist/sonographer relationship is built strictly on trust. they only see what i image, they only see what i allow them to see. if i miss something, it goes undiagnosed, unless the patient gets another form of follow-up imaging. i am their eyes. it’s a great working relationship, and very rewarding.