SONOGRAPHERS’ COMMUNICATION Sonographer Travel Grants: Fueling Passion for Echocardiography By Elizabeth McIlwain, MHS, RDCS, RCS, FASE I vividly remember my first ASE Scientific Sessions. It was ‘‘several’’ years ago in Washington DC. I was very excited to be attending an echo meeting. I was amazed to be able to sit and listen to the very people who wrote the textbooks and articles I had utilized in my training. I was in awe of the fact that I could go up to them and ask them questions, and yes, I was quite intimidated by all of that ‘‘echo knowledge’’. However, in the midst of my excitement, awe, and intimidation I found myself right at home. As I left that meeting I knew I wanted to be involved in a personal way with ASE and I would be back every year if I could manage it. If you know me, you know I am always encouraging people to join ASE and get involved. Attending that first meeting sparked my interest and led to my involvement. In 2011, with support from the ASE Foundation, the Council on Cardiovascular Sonography introduced travel grants as a way to encourage cardiovascular sonographers to continue their development in the field, participate in ASE, and identify/mentor new members to the council. Each year the council awards two $1,000 travel grants to assist sonographer members with funds to attend the annual Scientific Sessions. Applicants must be registered sonographers (RCS, RDCS, RVS, RVT, or the international equivalent) and be employed at least part-time. Information and deadlines for applying for the travel grants will be posted later this fall on the ASE Web site and will be announced in the sonographer community of [email protected]
This year, the council awarded travel grants to Colleen Gorczyca, RDCS and Kacy Sisco, RDCS. Colleen is an advanced cardiac sonographer at the University Hospital’s Case Medical Center in Cleveland OH, and Kacy is a pediatric cardiac sonographer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. I am using this month’s ‘‘blue pages’’ to share their experience at the 2014 Scientific Sessions. I hope this encourages you to attend a future conference and become more involved in the ASE. Why was it important for you to attend the 2014 Scientific Sessions? Colleen: I really wanted to attend because of the multitude of opportunities that are available at the Scientific Sessions—choosing which sessions to attend based on my interests and needs, networking with other sonographers and physicians, viewing the research and posters, visiting with the wide variety of vendors, and seeing the newest technologies that are available. Kacy: It was important for me to attend for numerous reasons. I knew that some of the most brilliant minds in the field of echocardiography were going to be in attendance, and I wanted to learn from them. I also am very interested in the newest technology and advances in echo, both of which I learned so much about while there. Describe the best session/event that you attended. Colleen: ‘‘Mechanical Circulatory Assist Therapy for Heart Failure’’ was my favorite presentation. Seeing the taped placement of an LVAD was very interesting and the other talks in that session were very informative. At work we scan a lot of LVAD patients. A close second was ‘‘When Right Goes Wrong: Right Heart Disease and Assessment.’’ I have a mild obsession with the right heart. Kacy: If I had to pick my favorite I would choose the fireside chat with David Sahn. I felt truly honored to be in the same room as him and learn how the field of pediatric echo began.
Volume 27 Number 10
Patrick Coon, RCCS, RDCS, FASE (left) and Elizabeth McIlwain (far right) congratulate Kacy and Colleen. Based on what you learned, have you made any changes in your lab or your practice? Colleen: Many of the talks included information on twodimensional and three-dimensional strain. I would one day like to see all of the systems in our lab equipped with this technology so it can become part of our regular protocol. Until then I have been more active in training our newer sonographers on how to perform strain on the machines we have with this capability Kacy: I have made various changes in my scanning. I am trying to incorporate more strain and three-dimensional into my scans. What encouragement would you give other sonographers to attend the ASE Scientific Sessions? Colleen: I would encourage all sonographers to go to the Scientific Sessions! The information and knowledge you can gain from attending is invaluable. Also getting to meet so many other people who share the same passion for their career as you do helps to keep you motivated in your day-to-day work. An added bonus is getting to see and try all the new machines and technologies available. Kacy: I would encourage every sonographer to attend the ASE Scientific Sessions. It was such an educational and informational experience for me. How do you plan to be more active in your profession and in the ASE as a result of attending the conference? Colleen: Having received this travel grant gave me the opportunity to attend the Council on Cardiovascular Sonography Business Meeting. I loved it. I felt honored to be part of a meeting that included some of the most recognized and respected people in cardiovascular sonography. I plan to apply for a spot on that board and hopefully someday will be a part of it. Kacy: I will try to be more active in my profession by keeping up with the always-improving technology and passing on the knowledge I gained to my coworkers. I plan to be more involved in ASE as well. I am going to strive to become FASE and to present an abstract at an upcoming session.
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 17A