Jenna and Carlene

We would like to introduce ourselves – Jenna and Carlene. We are Sonographers at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and together we are clinical placement mentors in general medical ultrasound and gynaecology. We each have our own area of speciality interest, Jenna MSK and Carlene Gynae, soon to be head and neck! Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, we felt, was the time to reflect on what we have done, seen and feel about our careers so far and contemplate what the future might hold.

Sitting down and talking this over between ourselves and with our colleagues we found that sometimes you feel you have stood still or career progression is slow or that you feel you have achieved not very much at all. Though, when you actually sit and think about what you achieve every single day, where you started and where you are now – you can take a moment to appreciate your accomplishments and so you jolly well should! We all work hard and long in a fast moving profession. Just read some of your reports from when you first started compared to what you produce now if your do nothing else!

In our relative short careers (although we are talking 10+ years for one of us) we have mentored sonographer trainees from never picking up a probe through to competent practitioners. “There are loads of us who do that”, we hear you cry,  “why is that so special?”. Well we’ll tell you, it’s something we feel strongly about. Every single one of you within our profession who takes a trainee under your wing deserves praise and admiration. You are contributing to the essential perpetuation of our profession and not only the standards of today but the standards of tomorrow. The generations who will be looking after us when we need them! So we put our hearts and souls not only into knowledge provision but often pastoral and nurturing time which at some point (more often than trainees realise) every one of them needs. It’s one of the most rewarding and yet sometimes most frustrating, difficult, intense parts of our job to go through and most of us do it (in some form) year-on-year. So take a moment and reflect on what an outstanding contribution you are making, it’s an accomplishment which should not be underestimated.

Linking to the efforts in clinical mentoring go hand-in-hand with the often underestimated skill of continuing professional development, with the emphasis here being on the word “continual“. Frequently we hear Sonographers who can be frustrated with the sedate pace and barriers to progression but we mustn’t lose sight of our “under  the radar” advancements. With the right attitude and balance we gather information subconsciously and progress each day. A conversation at lunchtime about a tricky case enlightens us, we remember it, read about it and teach it. Discussions over audit and learning events we take forward often minor but important notes of improvement. Reading a guideline update and taking just one extra new point away which make a difference to practice. What we’re saying is look where you’ve been and appreciate where you are and it’s always astounding no matter what career ambitions you do or do not have. Never underestimate your skills in continuing professional development.

We often suppose, discuss and contemplate the future of our profession, where will it take us on a personal level, however we have to adapt to changing focus of our role and what will it all mean for our trainees, how will we guide them into the future?  Well as we said, at the moment it’s just supposition and discussion. The debates in departments are filled with passion, opinion, valid points, multiple considerations and concerns. What we do know is that we feel fortunate to have this zeal of enthusiasm to debate it, which means whether you agree or not with each other or the direction it takes nationally, we all care about it.

So our point. Positivity and appreciation of the small things everyday shapes our future and we should do it more often. Medical Ultrasound Awareness  month is most definitely the perfect opportunity  reflect and promote this a wonderfully diverse profession which is frequently a challenge and we can lose sight of our day-to-day achievements which impact ourselves, our  patients and the future.