Medical technology that uses ultrasound is used by a number of specialties and for a wide array of conditions. Most people know that it is used by obstetricians to let parents get images of their babies but those in the know are aware of many more uses for this important technology. Becoming the best in this field takes more than getting a good echo table, mammography chair, or ultrasound exam table. It takes time, help from others, and a good deal of practice. Here are some things you can do to advance your career in this field.
- Give some thought to what you expect to find before you start. Sure, you need to do a complete and thorough examination of the area but before you have the patient lie down on the echo table, you should have a good idea of what kind of injury or condition you will be looking for. Get as much information from the patient as well as the doctor who referred them for this test. This will make the process much simpler and easier.
- Sometimes the hooves in the distance are zebras. There is saying in statistics that when you hear the sound of hooves, you probably should be looking for horses but every now and again, they may be zebras. Just because your information from the patient and referring doctor may point you in one direction, stay on the lookout for unusual problems and conditions. Your job is to report what you see and give your interpretation, not merely look and confirm or deny an existing diagnosis.
- Do not be afraid to admit you do not know something. Far too many people in this world give the wrong answer because they are too scared to say, “I do not know.” This can be a grave mistake when you are working with patients on an ultrasound patient table or echo table. Words and phrases such as, “I cannot tell,” “it looks unclear to me,” and “I do not know” are important to keep in your repertoire. Despite the advances in all kinds of technology, sometimes you cannot see what you need to see to make a clear and firm diagnosis.
- Do not be afraid to get a second opinion. In keeping with the theme that you should not be afraid to say you do not know something or that the results of the testing with an echo bed are unclear, you should also not worry about asking for another expert to take a look when you cannot say for sure. You may have a patient with a condition with which you are not completely familiar and another person can help you see what it is and give you pointers for the future. No one in the medical field replies only on their own opinion all of the time. That is one great part of working with other experts.
- Keep an eye on your patients after the testing has been done. A number of experts in this and other fields do not ever take the time to follow up with the people they have seen. This can be really helpful when you have a patient with a diagnosis that was not what was expected or was something you had not seen before. It only takes a short amount of time to call them, ask about what happened after they left your department, and get them back on to the echo table for a repeat of the tests. This can do a lot ot help you improve your skills and have a more confident approach to new patients. You can see where you were right and when you did not get an accurate answer, which will help you work on improving your techniques and skills.
In medicine, as in life, “no man is an island.” This is not the kind of work where you should ever feel you are in it all alone. You have professionals all around you who can help you become better at what you do. At times, you will lean on others to help you and then there will be times when your colleagues come to you for the same kind of help.