I began my ultrasound career in 2001 after graduating from the DMS program, but truth be known, it began sooner than that. I was incidentally placed at a maternal-fetal medicine clinic to do a rotation to get my clinical hours due to a preceptor being absent for an extended period of time at my “established” site, unbeknownst to me or anyone else just how much this would impact not only my career but my life.
When I was exposed to high-risk obstetrics (OB), I was instantly intrigued. I was told that I would need a minimum of 5 years of scanning experience before I could enter that field. For those that know me, know I’m always up for a challenge! I was prepared to do what it took.
At the end of my rotation, my preceptor, the one who would become the most impactful mentor I’d ever had, Ivy Myles, asked if I would be interested in returning to finish my clinicals at their practice, of course, I jumped on it.
Fast forward to today, I have learned that we, as sonographers, are the eyes and ears of the patient, and being in high risk, we are the eyes and ears of TWO patients. That is an incredible amount of responsibility and should not be taken lightly.
So, what does it mean when the job you love comes with so much responsibility? It means that we are in a position to advocate for the patient(s); we listen to them, ask questions that may seem out of curiosity to the patient, but in fact, tell a story of what may or may not be happening with mom and baby. I believe that we are not “picture takers,” we are “storytellers,” presenting our cases to the providers that have learned to trust our skills, talents, and insights.
Over the years, I have fallen more in love with this field and it has become a passion of mine. I want to learn more, teach more, and do more. I have a special place in my heart for the students and new sonographers that want to delve into the high-risk world because of how I entered this field. So, I carry on what my preceptor and mentor gave to me. She saw my skills and my heart for the field and gave me a chance. When a patient is told they are “high risk” and need specialty care at a perinatal center, this is typically not taken lightly. The patient is concerned for her baby and herself. In most perinatal centers where I have worked, the sonographers have a unique position and freedom to talk with our patients, explain the ultrasound, any concerns we may have about the ultrasound (without a diagnosis), we are able to provide a tour of their baby before they meet them, and let the family see their baby being a baby before meeting them on the outside. What a blessing for all!
Carrie Bowen, RDMS, RDCS, is a sonographer at Perinatal Associates of New Mexico.
Interested in learning more about obstetric ultrasound? Check out the following posts from the Scan: