My name is Barbara, and I have been an Ultrasound tech for more than 30 years now. Part of my job for the last 25 years has been to get and keep our labs accredited. We recently changed the accrediting body to the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM). Our initial accrediting body has always been a pleasure to work with, but inside I felt that the AIUM must be more in tune with what our concerns are, being it is strictly ultrasound.
We changed up 2 years ago, and wonderful things started to happen. First, we added more heart views, as, before, only the 4-chamber view was required. We changed that. Many of our younger techs were not proficient with all of the views, so we all pulled together. Our boss let us set up multiple hands-on training sessions from the older, more experienced Sonographers. He let us have as much time as we needed. It was beautiful to watch everyone working together.
Also, as a requirement of our Diagnostic Breast accreditation, every tech in our department got Breast certified; at least 15 techs needed to. Which everyone did willingly. The Radiologist now having to get 15 credits in breast ultrasound, did that willingly too. Everyone was on the same page.
Then what is even more astonishing is our boss came to me and asked if I would set up a quality assurance program. He realized that our exams are so tech-dependent that the techs need a resource to help them grow. And in a busy department, he wanted to make sure they all get what they need to be the best they can be.
As a part of that quality assurance program, management has allowed me to take time in my schedule to review a Sonographer’s ultrasound images. I review at least 30 exams to see a pattern or determine what the sonographer may lack. I then go over my results with the individual tech about image quality, image technique, etc. And, if we noticed the tech may need help in a certain area, we set up a one-on-one or place that tech with a tech that is more experienced to build the less-experienced tech’s confidence and skills.
I am so proud of our management and staff…Thank You, AIUM, for being a catalyst for such good things!!!!
Barbara A. Fennen, RT(M), RDMS, RVT, is a Sonographer at Beebe Healthcare in Rehoboth Beach, DE.
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