Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

SDMS Announcements

Sonographers Making Waves - Duane Meixner

by Katie Kuntz, MEd, RT(R), RDMS, RVT, FSDMS


Sonographers Making Waves - Duane Meixner
Sonographers Making Waves
Duane Meixner, RDMS, RVT

How long have you been a sonographer?
I earned an associate’s degree in Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Middlesex Community College (Bedford, MA) in 1987, and began working as a sonographer that year. 

How did you become interested in your career?
I have always known that I wanted to do something clinical as a profession. Upon realizing that the bachelor’s degree I was working toward would not result in the kind of work I was anticipating, I investigated allied health professions. I first learned about diagnostic medical ultrasound during a Human Reproduction biology course. After researching sonography as a career, I realized that among all the allied health options sonography would best satisfy my fascination with anatomy, physiology, and physics, while allowing me to work in a clinical environment. I have not been disappointed.

Where ​do you work?
Since graduating from Middlesex Community College, I have worked at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

How have you been “Making Waves?”
Since the very beginning of my career, I have relentlessly insisted on being called a sonographer, and on calling my colleagues sonographers, which was not the job title we had at that time. I credit my DMS Program Director, Paul Healy, with instilling in me the understanding of what it is that we actually do, the level of responsibility we have, and the professional pride that it demands.

In 1990, I was given the opportunity to teach. I was selected to be part of the inaugural faculty of the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences DMS Program, which I enjoyed for several years. A short time after leaving the DMS Program, I began teaching radiology residents, a position founded on the concept that sonographers are better equipped than anyone to teach scanning and sonography skills to trainee physicians.

I have also been lucky enough to be formally involved in innovation. Beginning at the same time I started teaching residents I became involved in ultrasound research, including strain elastography, image fusion, contrast enhanced ultrasound, shear wave elastography, as well as animal-based research and most recently microvasculature imaging. 

What would you like to tell other SDMS members to inspire them to make a difference and enrich their careers? 
Be curious, and be provocative. If you wonder about something, make an opportunity to ask someone to explain. If you notice something, make an opportunity to explain it to your colleagues, or even to a larger audience. If something needs to change, do what you can to make it change.

Pay attention to detail. The thing that sets sonographers apart in allied health is autonomy. While we may not sign our name to the final report, sonographers are alone in the room, responsible for providing the interpreting physician with the pictures, measurements, and observations that allow them to report your findings for the most benefit to your patients. To anyone who asks me, “What’s the big difference whether you’re called a ‘tech’ or a ‘sonographer’?” I always reply, “A technician knows which button to push. A technologist knows what happens when the button is pushed. A sonographer decides to push the button.”

Do you know a sonographer who is doing something out of the ordinary? Whether it is a grand gesture or a small moment that makes a difference in someone’s life, the SDMS would like to hear about it so that we can share it with you. So, if YOU know someone who is making waves, tell us at social@sdms.org!