Altnagelvin Hospital – Saturday 14 October 2017
As a newly appointed Lead Sonographer for the hospital, Melanie invited me to run a Study Day for the sonographers in her team on Saturday 14th October 2017 as she wanted to be sure that the sonographers were all aware of techniques and methods for minimising the risk of joint or Repetitive Strain Injury, which can be a common scenario within the profession. In this busy acute hospital there are a variety of Ultrasound examinations taking place, abdominal scans, obstetric, gynae, infant hips, small parts, vascular, involving in-patients and out-patients. Additionally there are also biopsies and more specialist examinations to attend to as they arise.
So how is it possible to look after your own health and wellbeing as a busy sonographer performing many scans per day?
It’s a pertinent question and one we looked to address during the Study Day.
My Self Care Skills course, Alexander Technique For Sonographers – Level 1 is accredited by the College of Radiographers in the UK with Continuing Professional Development Points.
Alexander’s Technique has much to offer the Medical Imaging Profession. In our training as radiographers, sonographers, mammographers – our focus is on patients, their anatomy and physiology, their disease patterns, an in depth knowledge of imaging modalities and how to practise safely within legal parameters using the lowest possible radiation dose (ALARA), and ultrasound frequency and keeping examination times to a minimum. Their health and wellbeing is always at the forefront of our minds.
It seems to me that it might be wise to begin introducing the idea that we also need to mindful of our own health and wellbeing too. This will create a strong and healthy workforce, able to withstand the rigours of the profession, maintain maximum earning power potential and ability to care for patients fully and efficiently. It would be a wise investment too for the NHS who need to protect their staff. Our profession is short of qualified professionals. Looking after the staff we have in place makes financial sense. And it’s not all about the numbers either, it’s also about empowering staff with morale, security and an education in personal health care.
This is what my passion is now, teaching my colleagues how to prevent pain and injury in the clinical setting and educating them in holistic ways of recovering from those already gained. It’s always such a joy to see sonographers experience a new way of operating around the patient and u/s machine. It’s often such a surprise. But it’s a definite possibility to become aware of how to use your body to its mechanical advantage whilst scanning, whether that’s in a seated position, or standing position, or dealing with an immobile patient in a bed or an obese patient that can make imaging very difficult. There’s always a way of using your body more naturally, to help you navigate the conditions you’re encountering better and without a price to pay on your personal health and wellbeing.
I always ask for feedback at the end of my Study Days in order that I can fine tune and improve what I’m offering. Here I’m sharing what the sonographers at Altnagelvin Hospital though of this educational training.
A total of 19 sonographers attended. Of the 17 who gave me feedback I got 8 sonographers give me a 10/10, the lowest rating was an 8. This is pleasing!
Everyone said they would recommend this course to a colleague.
In terms of more detailed feedback, here are some of the comments I received.
A very useful and enjoyable morning. There aren’t many Study Days where you leave feeling taller, better and more relaxed than when you came in! PACS manager Altnagelvin Hospital (attended morning only)
Excellent, Angela you presented in a very sensitive understanding manner! Reporting Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
Found course very useful to show good practice especially as a beginner Student Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
This was a really useful team exercise. It was great to have all the sonographers together so we could explore all our bad habits and how to improve them. Having it as a team exercise means we will be able to support each other implementing the techniques we learned today. Lead Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
I thoroughly enjoyed the course today. As I am a visual / practical learner. I enjoyed the activities the most and felt these were very helpful. Potentially more time could be spent on the practicals? Thanks Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
Very useful to help with correct posture for day to day work. Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
Excellent, very helpful and hopefully we will be able to put into practice. Maybe an update may be considered after a period of time of using this technique. Thank you. Fetal Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
Presentation and activity was great. Also great to demonstrate how I scan and how to improve this. Medical Imaging Radiographer, WHSCT.
Semi-Supine and practical scanning activity most helpful and enjoyable! Presentation was good but activities the most useful for me in a practical job. Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital.
Very pleasant Saturday with a very pleasant speaker. Educational and interesting. Will definitely try and improve my own posture and implement what’s best to protect myself from injury. Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
I think it was perfectly pitched. As a sonographer who has had right shoulder, arm and neck issues over the years, needing physiotherapy, very useful to learn theory first and then practical – good both watching others and then direct involvement. Very useful. Will take a lot of remembering to try and implement new techniques. In a busy worklist it is too easy to keep going to get the job done quickly without giving our posture, table height etc proper consideration and adapting when necessary. Sonographer, Altnagelvin Hospital
I am so pleased that this training was so well received! It’s simple but not easy, as we’re up against our personal habits. Change is often a challenge, but knowledge and awareness is all and this gives us choices over our future self. Health and wellbeing can be yours! A fully active personal and social life can be yours too. Just a little bit of thinking about yourself goes a long way to helping you be the best version of yourself. Natural and cared for.
Do get in touch if I can help you in your department, I’d love to help. www.angelabradshaw.com
To your good health!