The Sympathetic Sonographer

Sonographer

There has recently been a growing focus on patient satisfaction which is playing a more important role in health care than ever before.  Patients want to feel like they matter, that their problems or concerns are being addressed, that they are being heard, and most importantly that they are being respected.

Think about why you chose a job in health care….

To help care for those in need of medical attention.

From experience, I know it’s hard to stay positive about every single aspect of our day-to-day roles.  Sometimes it is hard to force a smile and be kind, especially when you may be dealing with overshadowing work related issues or struggling in other aspects of your life.

Not every patient is easy.  Not every patient is pleasant.  Not every patient smells good either… Some can’t talk, some can’t walk, and some can’t do a single thing for themselves, but nonetheless, we MUST remain considerate, humble, and kind.  We are there to help them.  Who are we to judge?  We don’t know their upbringing, or struggles.  All we know is that they are here because they need answers and it’s up to us to help find it.

 

It’s common for patients to feel naturally anxious awaiting an impending prognosis, especially if the condition has the potential to be serious.  Therefore, it’s extremely important to listen and take patients concerns into consideration so that they are more comfortable.

As a sonographer, I sit directly beside the patient I am examining.  During that short 30 minutes exam time, I become a part of many patients journey, whether good or bad.  It is crucial for me to know how to relate to ALL patients on an emotional level.  It’s critical to  do more than just scan them.

 

Treat patients the way your would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.

Key traits of GREAT Bedside Mannerism

Communication

  • Speak clearly but not loudly unless you know the patient is hard of hearing; make eye contact; listen intently to understand, not just respond.
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Inquire as to why they are here for testing (orders can be vague)
  • Explain what it is you’re doing before you get started.  Don’t just assume everyone knows what type of examination they are having done.
  • Use layman’s terms.  Make your “speech” as simplified as possible.  Translate your medical knowledge into common terms (example: transducer= probe, cholelithiasis = gallstones, menorrhagia= heavy menstrual periods) that other’s without medical knowledge can comprehend.
  • Answer as many of their questions as you can.  Patients don’t realize that we are not their doctor, or that we don’t have permission to tell them the results.  If they ask you something you are not of to say, tell them that it is something they should ask and discuss with their doctor.

Interaction

  • Communication is a part of interaction, interaction does not always have to be through language; it can even be through gestures
  • help patients better understand by showing them where or how to lay down and position their extremities, or how to take a deep breath and hold it (seems silly but more often than not my patients say they don’t understand or start to hyperventilate!).
  • demonstrate the area of concern or the main focus of the exam.
  • Check on them periodically throughout the exam.  Ask how they’re doing.

Compassion

  • comfort your patients.
  • treat patients with respect and courtesy so they know you care about them.
  • acknowledge your patients emotions
  • show your desire to help and be of assistance while they get on or off the table or changed into a gown.
  • be a friend.

Empathy

  •  feel the emotions of your patient.
  • acknowledge when they don’t feel well.
  • offer a warm blanket, or a sip of water.
  • hold their hand when they are scared or offer an arm to hold while they walk.

 

Not only will your communication, interaction, compassion, and empathy deepen the relationship between the two of you, it will make your patients feel more satisfied with their visit and that alone, can have a measurable effect on one’s health.

A glimpse into the hard, heartbreaking, and rewarding work of a sonographer

 

transparent natalie

 

 

 

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