When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?
I graduated from Lander University in SC with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with the hopes of becoming a physical therapist or a cardiologist. I didn’t get into PT school on my first attempt and decided I wanted to have a family over being a doctor. At that time, I felt I couldn’t do both! While working as an office manager, a patient of ours was in ultrasound school and that is how I learned about echocardiography. The sound of looking at hearts every day and traveling as a sonographer was very appealing to me so I decided to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography at the Medical College of GA. I learned all ultrasound modalities, became registered in OB/GYN, Echo, and Abdominal, and thought I would travel the world performing echoes but landed at Medical University of South Carolina instead and never looked back.
What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?
I work at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the states only academic health science center and South Carolina’s only transplant center. I am lucky to be the Clinical Supervisor and Technical Director of the Adult Echo Lab. I coordinate staff and am responsible for maintaining lab accreditation, coordination, education, research, patient care, staff development and training of students, residents, and fellows from many medical professions. I feel very fortunate to work with a talented team of doctors, fellows, students, nurses, and AWESOME sonographers.
When and how did you get involved with the ASE?
Early in my career, I knew I wanted to be involved and was encouraged by my former manager, Adell Bell and Medical Director, Bruce Usher, M.D. to get involved with ASE and become a FASE. I became an ASE member in 2006 and a FASE in 2009 and have volunteered for many committees.
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
I volunteer because I have a lot to offer and echo is my passion. I’ve been a clinical instructor and have been involved in educating many students, fellows, residents, and new sonography graduates over the last thirteen years. I volunteer because I want to learn more about the future of echo and be a part of advancing our profession and not watch from the sidelines. Finally, having the opportunity to meet all of the echo greats in any capacity (the sonographers, physicians, and educators) is very exciting for me. I hope to be one of the echo “greats” someday and hope to further my growth in ASE.
What is your current role within ASE? In the past, on what other committees, councils or task forces have you served and what have you done with the local echo society?
I am currently a member of the ASE Guidelines and Standards Committee. I have previously served on the Guidelines and Standards Committee in 2010, where I was fortunate to be part of an excellent publication “Guidelines for the Cardiac Sonographer in the Performance of Contrast Echocardiography: A Focused Update from the American Society of Echocardiography”. I have also served on the Membership Steering Committee in 2012. I am working on formally starting a local echo society chapter in Charleston, South Carolina and would love to create a state society in the future.
What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?
Some advice I wish I would have taken for myself earlier in my career is to NETWORK as much as you can. Talk to anyone and everyone at conferences or others you meet through colleagues. Introduce yourself to vendors, speakers, and other sonographers and physicians, and seek out opportunities. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other professionals even if you do not know them. I have always had a great relationship and networked through various vendors and gained knowledge by learning about new technology and other well-established echo labs. Volunteer for committees, write a case study, and be a voice for our profession.
What is your vision for the future of cardiovascular sonography?
My vision for our future is for all sonographers to practice to the full scope of practice. I believe the Advanced Cardiac Sonographer is a step in the right direction, but I feel there are many sonographers lacking the support to perform IV’s, agitated saline studies, and imaging agents. I would like to continue to advocate on behalf of sonographers for more education and quality in our labs. I also envision all hospitals and doctors’ offices being accredited and being held to the same standard across the board to provide the best care possible for every patient receiving an echo.