I am excited and nervous about becoming a sonographer. Being a student over the past two years in sonography school has not only taught me what patient care is all about, but has also taught me how to listen. As a student, I do not practice on you just to jab a probe into your ribs for a second time and send you back on transport; I am there because this is my future and soon I want to be the one taking the pictures to send to the radiologist to help you. You came here because something is different or you are hurting on the inside. I am here to try and figure out what that pain is from or try to make it go away.
Becoming a sonographer is more than just taking pictures. I only take pictures in black and white. I get to see who you are on the inside. I look at your heart, organs, blood vessels, breast, tissues, and pathology. I can see your blood flow to and from your organs with color.
I am here to help you get better. I explain to you what I will be doing before the test starts. I help you get undressed and dressed if need to be. I ask you how you are doing and to show me where the pain is. I retrieve your warm blankets, because it is always cold in the hospital, and call your upstairs nurse to see if you can have some ice water because you are parched. I reposition you in bed when you say your uncomfortable or something does not feel right. I come check on you every five to ten minutes to see how you are doing because you never know how long transport is going to take.
When you come into the room my ears are open to you. I ask you what brought you here and sometimes your short with me, but as the test continues, you get more comfortable knowing I am here to help and all the details of what brought you here come out. Everything you just told me could have your life on the line with something you did not know was growing inside you over the past five years.
I am by your side at all times during the test. I will hold your hand when the pain is too much or when you are nervous of what the findings could be. I tell you to take deep breaths in and out; breathing through the pain. We do not always have bad conversations. At times, you tell me about your wife and how you have known her since the first grade and you are now eighty-nine years old or that your daughter is interested in sonography school when she graduates this year from high school. I am excited for you when you have been trying for six years to get pregnant and you finally get to see your baby’s first heart beat or when you have had four boys and this is finally your first girl. We give hugs and we comfort each other in the times of happy or sad. I thank you for letting me practice on you and most the time you give me a big smile and wish me the best.
I am the one who discovers that the lump you have been feeling in your pelvis is stage three ovarian cancer, or the blood clot in your carotid may break off at any second, and if you do not get rushed to surgery now, you may not make it, or that your baby has no heart beat and you have already had five miscarriages. Though it is not in my job description to give you these results, it too breaks my heart, as it is not fair for anyone to get this news.
I strive to treat every patient with the same loving and tender care. As it is not easy when my schedule is back to back and the first patient was late or my last patient was combative. It is my job to remain calm and try to keep a smile on my face. I try to accommodate all my patients needs and make them feel comfortable in certain situations. I have a sense of fulfillment in know I am contributing to make a difference in all these lives I have touched.
Working in healthcare can be one of the most challenging occupations, but at the same time can be one of the most valuable and gratifying. It is an honor and reward to take care of patients who have various emotions, as you were the one that they may remember forever.
This job is a continuing education as something new is always occurring or being found. Over these past two years of being a student I have learned a variety of topics and pathology and learned that not every day is a rewarding day. Some days are overwhelming and stressful for many varied reasons. I do not wake up in the mornings at five-thirty and drive a hundred miles or stay an hour late just because I felt like it that day. If I did not want this to be my future, I would have given up a long time ago. As I was very nervous at my first clinical rotation, not knowing what to expect, I found that most techs are not there to put you down. They are there to help you succeed and teach you tricks and techniques on how to become a better tech.
It is a great honor to be hands on and take care of patients; as I will someday become a part of their journey, in times of good or times of bad. Being a student gives me great satisfaction in knowing I am learning to my best ability and finding out what the future is really like. As I have enjoyed this journey over the past two years; I am now ready to move along, graduate, and prove what I have learned.
– Sara Nienaber
Diagnostic Medical Sonograghy (DMS), Cambridge College