COVID-19 prompts questions about future of training

2020 04 02 23 02 9669 Ultrasound Patient Transducers 400

Do all healthcare professionals need to be taught how to protect their own well-being and mental health? Should sonographers and other staff be taught formal counseling skills as part of their training?

The COVID-19 pandemic has led two sonographers in the U.K. to ask these and other questions about the future composition of training schemes.

Ellen Dyer and Karen Hammett, members of the U.K. Society of Radiographers (SOR) ultrasound advisory group, shared their experiences of working during the pandemic in a news article published by the SOR on 20 August.

The pair of obstetric sonographers said the pandemic resulted in an increase in reassurance requirements, domestic abuse disclosures, and referrals to mental health teams for patients with anxiety. The sonographers also experienced "distressing situations" when they had to give unexpected news to women without someone to accompany them to an appointment.

"The emotional pressure on sonographers is not unique but is often a daily work-life demand," wrote Dyer and Hammett, sonographers at Rosie Hospital Cambridge and Royal Free London, respectively. "However, the unexpected consequences of the pandemic ... have added to the emotional pressure sonographers are under."

"Whilst many obstetric ultrasound teams coped by enhancing team working, going forward do we need to think about providing better training and tailored emotional education to help sonographers to deal with these unseen pressures?" they wrote.

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