Ben Stenberg, former UK Council member for the SoR’s Northern Region, is celebrating a new post – consultant sonographer at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.
Ben has worked at the hospital for ten years and during that time has developed his skills and created new services. He has become competent in performing contrast enhanced ultrasound, head and neck ﬁne needle aspirations and, more recently, ultrasound-guided liver biopsy and abdominal drainage.
Ben now works across the Freeman and Royal Victoria Inﬁrmary to provide specialist head and neck imaging and biopsies, CEUS with fusion technology for diagnostic studies, as well as intervention and diffuse liver biopsies and abdominal drainages/paracentesis.
Ben says the consultant role is a natural extension of this work: “I’ve been aiming for this for a number of years although I was assisted along the way by some supportive and forward thinking management who saw the beneﬁts it would bring. This made bringing it to fruition that much easier, although that’s not to say it was easy! There were still various parties that needed convincing.”
Ben is one of only a small group of consultant sonographers in the UK and he says he will continue to push forward more developments by training colleagues and undertaking research: “Research and education are a high priority for me and I intend to continue my own research, as well as supporting the sonographers and registrars in their research.
“Fortunately, my department also sees the beneﬁt of research and audit, and have given me some dedicated education and research time in my timetable. The role also gives patients quick and stable access to interventional procedures and advanced diagnostic tests.”
Ben also intends to spend time promoting the professionalism of sonographers and doing what he can to highlight this rapidly advancing, international ﬁeld. “There are so many avenues of opportunity opening up for sonographers in the UK to explore. It is a really exciting time to be part of that change.
“This growth and diversiﬁcation of ultrasound services brings with it problems, in particular sonographer numbers and recruitment, with direct entry an inevitability, and in my own view that is not necessarily a bad thing. “We must be sure to maintain standards and professionalism and that is in part a role taken up by the leaders in the ﬁeld."
Ben recently kick-started his mission with presentations at this year's Annual International Conference of the Australian Sonographers Association (ASA) in Melbourne. He delivered three lectures and a workshop during the three day event, covering role extension in the UK, 3D ultrasound in the abdomen and scanning kidney transplants.
“Now other countries are looking to our system as a model for development of their own workforces and I would like to be there promoting professionalism of sonographers, shouting about their skills, knowledge and dedication, and the success story of how our system can work for the patients’ beneﬁt.”