Advancing your career as a sonographer - Katie Thompson, SoR vice president

Katie recaps her visit to a recent College of Radiographers study day

Published: 22 May 2024 Sonography

I had the opportunity to attend the recent College of Radiographers (CoR) study day in Birmingham, covering enhanced to advanced to consultant practise. 

It was a showcase from both our CoR professional officers and enthusiastic sonographers from the clinical, educational and research worlds, who informed, shared, questioned and highlighted the potential we all have to advance our own practices. 

The programme was enticing and the subjects varied but intrinsically linked with career development with the sonographer in mind and the potential pathways and pitfalls that could be experienced. 

Kicking things off 

The day was expertly chaired by Cat Lee and Donna Holdcroft who are members of the ultrasound advisory group (UAG).

Cat is a trainee consultant sonographer at Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Donna is a lecturer/programme director at Keele University in Newcastle. 

Gill Harrison, the SoR’s professional officer for ultrasound, kicked things off with a whistle stop tour covering current issues within ultrasound career pathways and how things were moving forward in the profession addressing the elephant that remains in the room with the lack of registration for sonographers which for those not from a registered profession could hinder role progression for advanced practise. 

Kathryn Williamson, professional officer for education and accreditation with SoR, reflected on enhanced, advanced and consultant practise using the CoR Education Career Framework (ECF), facilitating a workshop to highlight how a lot of our current day to day practise is actually showing that you regularly are utilising the four pillars to evidence both practitioner and enhanced practise and how to identify areas that would move you forward into advanced practise framework

A seamless double act 

Amir Bennett, clinical programme director for clinical ultrasound at King’s College, alongside Gill Harrison in a seamless double act, covered the role of the expert witness with the use of interesting cases to highlight the importance of best practise, competence and ambiguous reporting, and the medico-legal implications our practise can have. 

Sue Johnson, professional officer for clinical imaging, a “self-confessed button pusher and can’t help it” covered prescribing and the sonographer, the recent passing of legislation for Therapeutic Radiographers being able to prescribe, the ongoing wait for Diagnostic Radiographers. 

Yes we’re all going a shade of blue holding our breath for the legislation to be passed, but when it does what a gateway it will open to advancing Diagnostic Radiographers practise, which in-turn will improve the patient pathway. 

And then came research: Jackie Matthew, clinical research fellow/research sonographer, lifted the the blinds on demystifying research and the critical appraisal process and gave us a glimpse into the world of AI and obstetric imaging, and not for the first time highlighting our role in leading implementation and governance in the inevitable increase use of AI in our practise. 

Be confident in your diagnosis 

The bread and butter of the sonography work load, reporting, was covered by Amanda Upton and Jackie Tyler, senior lecturers from the University of Cumbria, including workshops to scrutinise styles of reporting, why you should construct your reports based on the audience and the importance of including relevant information, and a conclusion that answers the clinical question, the take home message be confident in your diagnosis. 

The day was rounded off with a subject that resonates for many of us: ‘imposter phenomenon’, with a personal journey covering how to identify it and more importantly counteract and control it. 

Every single presentation was current, informative and relevant, the engagement of the attendees was fuelled by the enthusiasm of all presenters and the day, I feel, ended all too soon. 

The future in the sonography world is bright and exciting and I for one will be wearing my sunglasses and jumping on for the ride. 

Katie Thompson, Society of Radiographers vice president 

(Picture credit: Claire Brown/SoR)