When and how did you get involved with cardiovascular ultrasound?
I began my career in echocardiography in 1984 at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) in Brisbane, Australia. In those days, one began their journey into Echo by starting off as an “ECG Tech”, performing 12-lead ECGs, treadmill stress tests, and 24-hour Holter analysis. Once competent in these skills, you progressed to working in the Cardiac Cath Lab and finally moved into the Echo Lab. Echocardiography was the pinnacle of cardiac investigations and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to learn echo. In 1984, TPCH only had 2D and M-mode echo so a lot of cardiac diagnoses were based on structural appearances. In the late 1980’s, I worked at the Hammersmith Hospital in London. This is where I learned about Doppler echocardiography. In 1996, I also had the privilege of spending 4 weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to learn how to perform stress echocardiography. My experiences at the Hammersmith Hospital and Mayo Clinic were fundamental to my progression into teaching echo in Australia. In 2001, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) became the first university to offer a post graduate qualification in cardiac ultrasound and I was appointed part-time to conduct this course which I did until 2016.
What is the name and type of facility/institution at which you work, and what is your current position?
I am currently working part-time at TPCH as an Advanced Cardiac Scientist. TPCH is a teaching hospital in Brisbane with an emphasis in cardiac and respiratory medicine and cardio-thoracic surgery. TPCH is a public hospital and has one of the largest and most advanced Echo Labs in Australia. My primary duties there involve quality assurance (QA) activities. In this role, I am required to develop, deliver, analyze, and disseminate QA activities and QA metric results. I also maintain a Clinical Fellowship at QUT and continue to offer advice and support for the Graduate Diploma in Cardiac Ultrasound. Being involved in the organization of the Echo Australia meeting and other conferences, as well as many speaking engagements, I find myself thoroughly immersed in echo!
When and how did you get involved with the ASE?
I joined the ASE in 1998 on the recommendation of a cardiologist at TPCH. My first ‘direct’ involvement with the ASE was when I was invited to speak at the 16th Annual Scientific Sessions in Boston in 2005. In 2007, I was invited to serve on the ASE’s International Relations Task Force. In 2009, I was awarded a Fellowship of the ASE (FASE).
Why do you volunteer for ASE?
The ASE is the world leader in advocacy for echocardiography. Volunteering enables the ASE to continue with its commitment to the echocardiographic community in terms of education, research, advocacy, and guidance. Volunteering for the ASE also provides an opportunity to create (and strengthen) new relationships, to develop new skills and knowledge, and to share my experience in the field, in the hope that I can make a positive contribution to the world of echo.
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 the International Representative on the ASE’s Board of Directors. In this position, I have endeavored to expand the international ASE membership to allow the ASE to represent, support and collaborate with the broader echo community. As mentioned above, I have also served on the ASE’s International Relations Task Force, on the ASE Membership Steering Committee and on the CASE Editorial Board.
During my career, I have volunteered on several committees and organizations within Australia. These include positions on the Board of Examiners for the Diploma in Medical Ultrasound (DMU) and the DMU Advisory and Sonographer Affairs Committee for the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine, the council of the Australian Sonographers Accreditation Registry, the Cardiac Sonographers Working Group and the Fellowship Selection Panel for the Australasian Sonographers Association, and the Imaging Council for the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.
What is your advice for members who want to become more involved in their profession or with the ASE?
If you are passionate about echocardiography, want to be able to influence the future of echocardiography, or just simply ‘give back’ to the profession, then volunteering for the ASE is the ideal course of action. There are numerous ASE communities and councils where sonographers can volunteer. Keep an eye out for the call for volunteers on the ASE newsletters and then take the time to read through the committee and council’s objectives to see if any of these areas interest you. Participation in these committees and councils exposes sonographers to new perspectives and ideas, allows them to learn from their peers, and helps them stay up-to-date with the latest developments. Involvement and contribution within your profession will also make you a better sonographer and enable you to broaden your professional and personal horizons.
Other ways to become more involved in the profession is to ‘start small’ by offering to speak at in-house and local echo meetings. You can then develop your speaking skills and learn what it takes to deliver a quality presentation.
What is your vision for the future of cardiovascular sonography?
Cardiovascular ultrasound is expanding beyond cardiac sonographers and Echocardiologists. This technology is now being introduced into medical schools and there are many individuals performing (some would say ‘dabbling’) in this imaging technology. However, there will always be a role for highly skilled cardiac sonographers and Echocardiologists and we should not feel threatened by this. We should feel empowered and we should do all we can to support the education of others for the benefit of our patients. Ultimately, I think the future of cardiovascular ultrasound is artificial intelligence (AI) which will allow us to streamline and shorten our examinations. This will be beneficial to both patients and the sonographers. We have to ask ourselves “do we really need 100+ clips to make a diagnosis or can we do it in just 10”?