Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

SDMS Announcements

SDMS President's Message - February 2018

by Tammy Stearns
Tammy Stearns 200x300 with paddingDear SDMS Members,

It’s that time of the year again, February. The month after we have made our resolutions to become healthier and make changes in our lives. For some, our resolutions, although good ideas, were set aside due to our busy lives. For others, our resolutions have passed the test of time and are well positioned to become a part of our daily schedules.

As we continue into 2018, I’d like to challenge each of you to assess the daily wear and tear on your bodies due to work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). We all know the implications of repetitive work injuries and have either experienced or known others who have had surgery to correct injuries or worse, have had to leave the profession. Ideally, we would work in conditions that protected our bodies through balanced schedules and ergonomically correct ultrasound machines, beds, and chairs. However, the statistics show that the majority of us are still scanning in the same or similar conditions in which we scanned years ago.

The SDMS continues to keep WRMSD issues at the forefront of our priorities. It is important to the SDMS that our sonographers have the information they need to stay healthy and have life-long professional careers in sonography. The SDMS published updated Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography along with a white paper and other articles on WRMSDs in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JDMS). These documents provide the informational background and current trends needed to inform and educate those in your facility that make the decisions that impact your work environment. I encourage you to use these documents to start a constructive conversation with your employers, managers, and fellow sonographers.

I’d also like to encourage you to become more proactive with regards to protecting yourself. Unfortunately, overall change takes time. While waiting for the “powers that be” to make the changes necessary to decrease WRMSDs, you can take personal responsibility for the role that you play in addressing the issue such as taking breaks, using your lunch time to relax and refresh, doing the suggested exercises, and scanning properly.

In a busy day, it can seem impossible as we go from patient to patient. Yet, we alone are the only ones that will ultimately pay for the repetitive damage done to our bodies. As sonographers, it is engrained in us to do whatever it takes to get the best picture possible. We strive to provide the best for our patients, often to our own detriment. Let’s take what we know regarding repetitive injuries and become innovative in how we approach each exam. Let’s add the standards into the variables of each exam that we perform so that we can both protect ourselves and serve our patients to the best of our ability.

Tammy Stearns

Tammy Stearns, ​MS, RT(R), RDMS, RVT, FSDMS
SDMS and SDMS Foundation President