What does being a sonographer mean to me? Honestly it means a variety of things to me. First of all in my personal situation it means freedom, career, and superpower. But in general terms it means so much more also for example it means caring, helping, preventing, and learning.
I first thought about ultrasound school about two years after high school. When I first graduated high school I jumped into college following my heart and studying social science. I have always been a helper, a fixer, and a nurturer. But after starting some clinical studies in the field I knew as much as I loved this career I would not make it too long because my heart was just too big. As a social worker you have to learn quickly that you can not save them all and that was just too heart wrenching for me to handle. I quickly thought about nursing but knew my stomach could not handle the blood and again losing patients. Later that year I learned I was pregnant and that’s where I saw my very first ultrasound. I was in complete awe how such a small object and a machine can harmlessly introduce me to my unborn child. I later was diagnosed with a heart condition and had to get an echocardiogram and that is when I was completely blown away. I had an awesome echo tech who explained to me everything he saw, and I could not believe all the mechanics of that special little organ called the heart.
Once I had the baby I knew I wanted to stay home with her for a little bit and have some bonding time. Well my bonding time turned into two years before I even thought about school again. Once I finally decided to go back to school, I started taking a couple of prerequisite credits that I needed to start the program. Well I completely hated the school I attended and quickly quit and did not look back. I returned to be a stay at home mom, and as much as I loved being home with my munchkin I felt exhausted of being just that. I then started applying to my state college radiology program for two whole years and did not get accepted which completely discouraged me a lot more. I learned that I was pregnant again. This time I had a high risk pregnancy. I was getting ultrasounds done every four weeks and again it sparked it all up for me again. I promised myself that I had to pick myself up and start looking for another school. After the baby was born I was stuck in baby blues for a little bit and doubted how I could make it through school with two kids and not much of a support system behind me. Well a couple months later it took a real heartbreak to completely whoop my butt into shape and realize that I needed to do something for me. And that is why being a sonographer means freedom to me.
Sonography is not just my career, it is my superpower. I jumped into ultrasound school after 5 years of being at home and now caring for two kids. I was terrified but I had to remember that I was not only taking this step for myself but now also to provide for my children. I spent a lot of long days and nights studying, doing homework, and preparing for my next day of class each day. I loved it, I knew I had taken the right step, I was learning something new everyday. I jumped into the school believing I wanted to be an echo tech but quickly loved general so much more. Even though the heart is so powerful and the mechanics are so amazing it is scary to think how important of an organ it is to our body. And as much as I loved being able to see my unborn babies during my pregnancies, I knew I did not want to experience scanning a not well baby, or even worse a dead one. I had one big surprise discovery while scanning each other in the lab. I had one more baby on the way! And this is why sonography means superpower. I had the superpowers to get through my courses pregnant, with a brand new baby and 5 year old. Even after the baby was born I came right back to school a week later, because the goal has always been to finish. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am not only going to finish but I am going to be skillful, passionate and compassionate in my career.
During clinicals I have met some desensitized techs, and some really compassionate techs. And I can not wait to have patients of my own, to love and nurture. I believe the world could be a very ugly place and I have met some good, bad, and ugly in these hospitals. But you can definitely see the difference in the good and I am so excited to be a difference in this field. Sonography means always learning, seeing something new, learning a new technique, new machinery, and new protocols. In general ultrasound you must learn more than one organ, that brings a multitude of diagnosis. You must know how to detect normal anatomy compared to pathology. Being a sonographer means always helping. Our lives in this career is seeing sick patients, who we can help to prevent certain pathologies by detecting them early on. Yes we have bad days, where we detect pathologies that can not be cured, or we meet a patient that completely moves you in a way but you know you may possibly never meet again. But the passion I have for sonography keeps me positive.
When I pick up a probe, I am picking up someones life and putting it in my hands. I am detecting a diagnosis with a poor prognosis, or I am saving a life without even knowing. I am detecting a life in a mother’s womb. When I pick up a probe, I am being a sonographer! And becoming a sonographer to me means becoming a superwoman!
– Katherine Tineo
Diagnostic Medical Sonograghy (DMS), Cambridge College