Interview with Sonographer: Meet Ian Shadou

Welcome again to the next installment of our interview series with fellow ultrasound technicians. I hope you’re finding these snippets of information as valuable as I am – and I hope those of you considering a career in ultrasound are finding information that will help you to make a decision about your future career path. Today we’re talking to Ian Shadou and he’s in a unique situation some of you may be considering – as a traveling ultrasound technician.

Ross: Hi Ian. Thank you for agreeing to be part of my interview series. I’m so glad that so many fellow ultrasound specialists are willing to share their expertise with my readers. Could you start by telling everyone a little bit about yourself?

Ian: Glad to be able to help, Ross. I’ve been working as an ultrasound technician for the past 4 ½ years. Before that, I was an x-ray tech but I wanted to learn more about different areas of imaging – something I think everyone working in the field of diagnostic medicine and imaging should do. Ultrasound involves, I think, a different type of skill-set and there are tons of great job opportunities. I do love working with people, and this just seemed like a natural career transition for me.

Ross: You work as a traveling ultrasound technician. What made you want to travel?

Ian: Well, first of all, I’m single (hahah), so I don’t have my own family or kids tying me down in any one location (nor would I have to move them around with me). My family is already scattered around the country. I thought that becoming a traveling ultrasound technician would be really beneficial on a couple of levels. I get to see the country by traveling and I can occasionally request to be sent to locations closer to my family so that I can see them in my off-hours. I get to go to locations where songraphers are in high demand, get paid for my work, and sometimes even receive housing. I can also take as much time off as I need or want in between assignments.

Ross: We’ve got to ask. What location have you enjoyed the most so far? And which did you like least?

Ian: Well, I have to say that I did spend some time out in Washington state, in the Seattle area, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere out there. I’d definitely go back or even consider relocating there once I’m tired of traveling. I, for some reason, was once assigned an area just outside of Boston during the winter months and, well – wow. I didn’t realize just how cold it is up there in the winter. Not my cup of tea at all!

Ross: I’m asking everyone taking part in our series to sound off on a particular question. There seems to be some debate over whether ultrasound technicians should be referred to as technicians, technologists, or sonographers. Some people think only the terms technologist or sonographer should be use. What do you think?

Ian: I’ll start by saying I have no idea why something like that would be an issue. If you look online – or on TV when you see commercials advertising training programs – you’re going to see all three terms used interchangeably. I don’t think it should matter (or, it shouldn’t matter enough to debate, anyway).

Ross: You mentioned once having a rough time in your training program. Do you have any tips for those who are looking to find an ultrasound program right now?

Ian: Yes, I did have a hard time. I had some personality clashes with instructor who didn’t really feel that “teaching” was necessary – and I didn’t particularly like the layout of the program. Make sure you do your research and visit a couple of schools before you choose a program. Don’t settle for set “open house” times, either. Those times are set aside so that you can see as little of the actual program as possible. Drop in during regular class hours and ask to look around. You’ll see real classes as they’re happening and you’ll get a much better idea of how things work.

Thanks again to Ian for taking some time to work with us today. As usual, let me know if you have any questions for either one of us and I’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as I can.

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