World Radiography Day is celebrated every year on 8th November. It’s a date marked to celebrate the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895, without which we wouldn’t be able to produce x-rays or ultrasound scans. At GP Care, many of our community services require ultrasound, which is carried out by our fantastic team of highly qualified sonographers. Sonography is a branch of radiology and all our sonographers have a background in radiology.
To celebrate World Radiography Day we asked Sue Moss, one of our dedicated sonographers, to write what a day in the life of being a Community Sonographer entails:
Meeting and caring for the patients has always been one of the parts of the job which, as a sonographer, I love the best. Working in the community across a variety of clinic locations from GP surgeries, local hospitals and HMP prisons provides a really interesting starting point.
A typical day can start with a DVT clinic where we scan patients legs for clots and depending on whether they are positive or negative, treatment is started there and then or discharged back to their GP. We also offer pregnancy reassurance scans and often see women who would have booked in for these type of appointments, we have close links with local Obstetric Departments at the local hospitals to allow onward referrals if necessary. As in all medical diagnostic situations the patients really appreciate an immediate answer. At the completion of the morning clinic we pack up, send reports as required and then we move on to the next clinic; this maybe a urology clinic in a local Community hospital where together with a Urologist, a one stop clinic is provided. The Urology clinics require real team work and provide a platform for the sonographer to liaise with the urologist who then discuss medical conditions and treatments with the patients. This provides a great service for the patients and a brilliant opportunity to learn from other medical professionals. On another day we might be based at a local GP surgery, scanning patients for a variety of different types of reasons, this might include pelvic scans for gynaecological problems or general abdominal and urology scans to musculoskeletal or testicular scans.
Working as a Community Sonographer offers me a varied and really interesting work life. We work very much as part of a team without which we couldn’t do our jobs properly. From the administrators who process the booking and prepare the patients as well as help receive and send out the reports to the logistics coordinator who makes sure the equipment is where it should be and fully stocked up, the health care assistants who help administrate the running of the clinics and are chaperones to the sonographer and medical colleagues who are all there to support each other and ensure the patient receives great patient care.
Ultrasound technology has improved significantly to allow excellent images to be produced and the advent of more portable equipment travelling around the community, without the need for a cart based system to be installed in each place, has allowed our services to grow and develop and often proves to be much more convenient for the patients. Having worked for many years as a sonographer in NHS hospitals I can understand the benefits of ultrasound services within a hospital and a community setting and I think they complement each other hugely.
Working in the community has its challenges and I sometimes have to be creative and think outside the box when you find yourself in different situations away from the large teaching or district hospitals but that is part of what makes this job so appealing and worthwhile. Even after many years of scanning, ultrasound still has the ability to excite and interest me. I really enjoy the building up of the 2D dimensional image and the challenge of obtaining information from the different body parts.
For more information about World Radiography Day or a career in radiography follow this link to the Society of Radiographers. If you are a qualified sonographer and you are interested in working within the community, have a look at our recruitment page for more information about opportunities within our Ultrasound Team