This is the second part in our series of interviews with other ultrasound technicians. This time I’m interviewing Michael Premium, an ultrasound technician from central Ohio. He’s got insights of his own to share and I hope you find what he has to say to be valuable as well.
Ross: I really appreciate you taking some time to share your thoughts with my readers, Michael. How long have you been working in the field and what made you choose a career in ultrasound?
Michael: I’m a little bit newer to the field than some of the others you’ve spoken with. I’ve been an ultrasound technician for just under three years now. Believe it or not, I used to work in construction but was laid off a few years ago. The housing market really soured so the likelihood of me finding a new job was somewhat grim. I had always wanted to do something related to medicine so I decided to leave construction behind and take the opportunity to retrain myself. I ended up taking classes at a local college before I sat for my certification exam.
Ross: I noticed you have your RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer) certification as opposed to the RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) designation. What led you towards cardiac sonography?
Michael: Well, both certifications are issued by the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography). The RDMS certification is a bit broader than the RDCS, and I actually had that certification first. It covers a lot of different types of ultrasound on a very general basis – things like OB/GYN, Fetal Echocardiography, abdominal and breast ultrasound, and a few other types of work.
The RDCS, on the other hand, focuses on the heart, from the developing fetus through children and adults. I am fascinated with the heart and really wanted to find an area of sonography that allowed me to focus on one area of the health care field. My skills as an RDCS allowed me to get a job in a cardiac clinic and I’ve learned a lot about heart health from my work and from the doctors I am partnered with.
Ross: Do you have a memorable experience as an ultrasound technician you could share with my readers?
Michael: Oh, wow! Yes! That one is easy. Believe it or not, ultrasound technology is just as prevalent in veterinary care as it is in human medicine. While I was in school, a friend of mine invited me to come out to a veterinary clinic where she was working. They had a specialist on staff who performed echocardiograms on animals and I got to shadow him for an entire afternoon.
While I really had no interest in changing my focus towards animals, I can’t even begin to tell you how touched I was by what I saw that day. The animals and their human families were wonderful – even the ones who were scared of the unknown. Plus, it was really cool to see animal hearts on the machine instead of human hearts. Animal anatomy is amazing!
Ross: The million dollar question, Michael, is this. We’ve heard some recent debate over whether ultrasound technicians should be referred to as technicians, technologists, or as sonographers. Some people think some terms are more professional than others. What do you think?
Michael: People are really worried about that stuff? I can’t say I’d really given it much thought. I suppose that the word sonographer has a more professional ring to it, but the average layperson wouldn’t recognize the term. All three seem to be synonymous. I’m not sure why it would matter. I guess I don’t really care what they call me as long as I’m getting the job done and my patients are well cared for!
Ross: Do you have any advice for aspiring sonographers?
Michael: Make sure you cross-train and advance your career as much as possible. Don’t settle for one certification and then get comfortable in your job. The field is growing and the need for cross-trained professionals is going to grow with it. The more you can do, the better off you’ll be in terms of job security!
I’d like to thank Michael again for taking part in our interview series. As always, feel free to send any additional questions you may have – for him or me. I’ll do my best to get them answered for you!