BMUS News - Summer 2021

My View From The Naughty Corner
Pam Parker

Update from BMUS Development Officer
Catherine Kirkpatrick

Ultrasound 2021 - Virtual Conference
Terry Humphrey


My View From The Naughty Corner  

The Kraken awakes…..

The summer of 2021 has brought in freedom to many with the lifting of various restrictions at various times in various parts of the UK. Various plans can be enacted with various friends and various family members at various times. Choice, variety, decisions……. and, perhaps, if you are anything like me a degree of bewilderment. How did life get so complicated? We all, of course, have been following Covid-19 restriction updates and who came blame our bewilderment as these seem to change dependent upon location or choice of activity but, at least, restrictions are lifting. With ongoing caution, we live in hope this continues and we achieve some respite before the winter pressures arrive and the summer sunshine is behind us. Our health care system has been, and continues to be, under strain but it continues to deliver where it is needed thanks to the likes of you, working tirelessly to provide the service you have trained hard to achieve. On behalf of BMUS, and the professions we represent, THANK YOU – you are amazing! Keep Going strong!

In my case though, bewilderment does also seem to keep going strong. I was fortunate enough to have a day off recently. The sun was shining and I took the opportunity to head into Hull city centre (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!). I had heard that the Kraken had awoken and was taking over the city. As you can imagine I approached bewilderment overload, particularly as, yes indeed, a sea monster could clearly be seen poking its tentacle arms out of various windows and doors in some of Hull’s most iconic land marks.

Each sucker adorned tentacle gently wafted in the breeze and, as I headed nearer to the marina, the wind from the Humber filled the Kraken with life resulting in tentacles wafting this way and that making it hard to keep track of where it would reach next. Of course, these are just inflatable models as my underwhelmed four-year-old travel companion informed me, as she tucked into an enormous ice-cream, but that did not diminish my bewilderment of how the Kraken was moving and where we would find it next. Given that ultrasound is deep routed in my psyche, I could not but relate the Kraken to those ever moving arms of a 20-week fetus that we try and find with bewilderment as we learn obstetric ultrasound. How can such a small thing move so quickly? How will I ever learn? I am not sure the feelings of bewilderment I had in my early days as a trainee sonographer will ever leave me; and perhaps they shouldn’t. How else we will be able to empathise with our current and future trainees?

The demands for our services are destined to grow and, in all likeliness, outpace the outturn of sonographers currently in training. Therefore, every trainee is a precious asset that we need to nurture and support; we can’t afford to lose any one of them. As I am sure you have seen in Ultrapost and on the website, the BMUS team has created resources and space to support our trainees and all involved with the development of sonographers. I have to thank Hazel Edwards, BMUS Professional Officer, Shaunna Smith, Education Group member, and all others involved in this project, for the time and effort they are putting into creating this invaluable material. Medical ultrasound, regardless of the professional background of those practitioners undertaking it, is an amazing technology and provides a wealth of diagnostic information. We clearly need more workforce in every field of our practice. BMUS remains a key stakeholder, working in collaboration with our partner professional organisations, involved in the national discussions and projects aiming to support the development of current and future ultrasound practitioners. I appreciate there is very little to update you on related to this work but, please be reassured, we are still very much an active voice and protagonist in the national conversations. In the interim, BMUS will do its utmost to support the training, development and practice of all involved with medical ultrasound.

The work that the Professional Standards, Physics and Safety and Education groups are undertaking will see the publication of updated guidelines and recommendations during the virtual ASM of 2021 and these will only serve to benefit existing practitioners. As we approach late summer and the start of a new term I am optimistic that there are opportunities ahead to increase trainee numbers and clinical capacity. My long term ambition is to create so much career choice and opportunity for our trainees that they join me in the happy world of bewilderment and ultrasound joy.

All that remains is for me to wish you all a very enjoyable rest of the summer and hope to see you all, virtually at least, at the ASM in December 2021 – provided the Kraken hasn’t got me first. Now, where did I last see that tentacle…….?

Pamela Parker

Update from BMUS Development Officer

I’m feeling very reflective so you may have to excuse some self-indulgence as I write this article for the BMUS newsletter – I’m using it as a form of therapy. Don’t worry I won’t over share but I encourage you to read on!

In July 2020 the NHS People Plan 2020/2021 was published. It focussed around 4 main themes. But where are we a year on, how are we all bearing up and what are we doing to help ourselves? And so follow my musings.

  • Growing for the future. Recruiting, retaining and returning of staff.

I have to say there is a small sense of déjà vu here remembering this strapline from my first qualified year in Radiography 20 years ago, nonetheless, I am very much and always have been, in support of the sentiment which is obviously essential. Job satisfaction and departmental support are key to retaining. Being inspirational in our visions for patient service allows the art of the possible for future generations.

  • Belonging to the NHS. The focus here highlights the need for an organisational culture where everyone feels they belong, tackling the discrimination that they face in their roles.

This both saddens me and elates me at the same time. Never before have I been party to such an organisational push for equality and inclusion. An equal voice. What a positive mandate to make public. We all belong. And why are we having to say this is 2021….. how is this even a thing?!! ‘Everyday sexism’ I have experience of it, I read others and their children still experience it. ‘Everyday racism’ – we cannot allow it. This is not the people plan for 2020/21 this is forever a mandate that we must entrench in our organisational cultures and have openness surrounding it.

  • New ways of working in a sustainable way making full use of our peoples’ skills and experiences.

Well yeh?! Highlighting the varied use of ultrasound practitioners has never been more relevant to this point and the global pandemic has emphasised this in glorious form. From PoCUS lung ultrasound to sonographers across the land ensuring continuing services in battle conditions. Hang on it did stay sustainable too ….. However, we all have to admit sonographers have been extending their scope of practice for years to ensure sustainable services working alongside radiologist/medical colleagues and the team efforts will continue to be an exemplary part of patient care and diagnosis. I really do think we should shout about it more……..

  • Looking after our people with quality health and wellbeing support.

So here goes the therapy session. How are you all? I personally always answer ‘fine thank you – and you?’ standard phrase right. This plan highlights the fact that there are many factors which affect our ability to function adequately. Maintenance of high standards and good practice are not optional and therefore awareness of what affects our ability to provide this should not be either. Workload, capacity, relationships in the team etc. play a part and regular conversations and 1:1s with line managers can be useful to discuss, but a holistic approach and some self-responsibility/care is also needed and supported by our workplace. I am going to admit to you right now…. Self-responsibility for my own care ….. erm I’m difficult to manage ….in a good way ??...I hope… I have to learn when I’m on the road to burnout…..I think I’ve come close and cracked on again. I never ever learn my lesson. I’m highlighting this not for sympathy or some kind of solidarity, but to say we are wrong in doing this, and many of us just can’t see it. Work and life in general are sometimes just hard and the burden of targets, capacity, workload, responsibility to the needs of our patients sometime lead to the balance being out of kilter, often only for a short time. However, the global pandemic has brought us greater challenges and consequences we will need to pick up. So, we have a responsibility to ourselves to re-build resilience and balance and our organisations do too. A year on after this was published not sure I have fully embraced it or had the chance to…….. probably should start to….. likely to be less grumpy…. No comments please!

So as final notes to all this, a few bullet points:

  • The professional issues stream at the BMUS virtual ASM 2021 hopes to address in some of the themes, the challenges faced out there by our ultrasound practitioners especially during COVID-19 and the effects and consequences. Judith Johnson, a Clinical Psychologist/Lecturer University of Leeds will discuss ‘Sonographer burnout: facing the challenges and managing wellbeing’
  • The professional issues stream will also look at new ways of working to deal with capacity and demand and allow departments make full use of the skills and experience of the ultrasound practitioner – Join Penny Moores for ‘One Stop Ultrasound in Urgent Care - The Future?’ & BMUS President Pamela Parker for ‘Rapid Diagnostic Pathways - Challenges and Opportunities’
  • And finally ……I’m off to practice my Bhujangasana in the hope of Ananda. I’m getting older now, yoga is a must to keep my trainers running and my netball fitness up. Do not give up the pursuit of self-care whatever form it takes for you – make sure you’re on my bandwagon it’s much easier together.

Catherine Kirkpatrick
Development Officer

Ultrasound 2021 - Virtual Conference 

Hello everyone, I just wanted to give a short update regarding the 2021 ASM. The programme has come together really nicely and with sessions including information on the transition from student to sonographer, specialist clinical work, career development, research projects and quality assurance there is lots to interest everyone.

This is proving to be another incredibly challenging year with departments being completely swamped with clinical work. Many of you will not yet have had time to even think about the ASM but I hope when the time comes, your enthusiasm for all things ultrasound will prevail.

Taking into account the clinical demands many are facing, we have carefully planned the timing of the online programme to give greater flexibility and facilitate more access to the educational content. Delegates will be able to access the content of the sessions for which they are registered for up to …..weeks.

There will be flexible registration packages ranging from single pay per view sessions to registration of the entire programme which will incorporate over 40 hours of material providing a huge educational resource. As you would expect, increasing the number of registered sessions gives much better value.

Whilst the meeting is online we do look forward to an interactive programme with live question and answer sessions and lively debate. Full details of the Scientific Programme will be published on the BMUS website shortly with information on how to register for the 2021 ASM.

Terry Humphrey
Chair of 2021 Scientific Organising Committee