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A day in the life of an ultrasound programme director #MUAM

3 October, 2018

Author: Senior Lecturer in Ultrasound and Programme Director for Medical Ultrasound, City University of London

Gill Harrison
Gill Harrison

Today is week one of the abdominal ultrasound module.

Having arrived in the office at 7am and caught up on e-mails from last night, I prepare my resources to take across to teach on the main university site. My office is about 5 minute walk from the main campus, so I have to have the day’s work with me, along with my reusable mug.

I like to arrive in the ‘interactive’ lecture room early, so that the chairs and tables can be arranged as I need them. The morning lectures begin at 9am, with an introduction to the module, an overview of the e-learning resources, and a brief introduction to the assessments for the module.

After a break for coffee we then launch into image review, to check that everyone understood the basic introductory on-line lectures. It is a way for me to see what level of knowledge the group have, which helps pitch the work for the rest of the week and the following session. Using interactive methods, I check understanding and test students’ knowledge, clarify any areas of difficulty, and share images of relevant ultrasound anatomy.

During lunch I go to the ultrasound skills suite, where we offer a ‘drop-in’ session for students who have questions, concerns, personal issues, or who want to review a specific clinical technique. I also catch up with a colleague and review issues relating to the admissions process, to ensure that all students are registered to the correct modules, following induction the previous week.

Sometimes we have a small group of students and use this time to help them develop their scanning skills for abdominal ultrasound by scanning each other, or one of the team. We have consent forms, based on the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) guidelines, before scanning students, so that we have a process in place on the occasion that we find pathology.

In the afternoon we have students in small groups, to get them working on different areas of practice. Some are in the skills suite, scanning and being tested on anatomy, others are reviewing images of common pathology and I am teaching report writing in a workshop.

My afternoon is spent reiterating best practice guidance and the need for succinct, clear well-structured reports. I hear myself saying "Don’t write 'no obvious'…" in a report many times during the afternoon. I realise I’ve become my mum, as I repeat "If it was obvious you’d have seen it and reported it! It won’t protect you medico-legally."

As the students go home, some of them travelling quite long distances, I head back to the office to leave my things. Another hour is spent sorting out e-mail queries relating to admissions, clinical placements, access to the e-learning modules, finding out how other students have done in clinical assessments and responding to other issues.

I think, should I start writing the annual report for CASE? No, I’m too tired, the figures will not make sense today. Save that for a morning when I’m fresh!

So Twitter it is. Time to find out what’s happening in the world of education, ultrasound, imaging and healthcare!

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