I have been a right handed sonographer for over fifteen years. I started out doing general and cross trained into cardiac. I have never sat down and scanned I have always stood up while the patient laid on their left side and their whole body was as close to me as possible and the machine height was at a level comfortable for me. Most Sonographers that scan right handed are more likely to be in the field for a long time as years ago it wasn’t a concern on which hand you scanned with to do Echo’s. However further ergonomics study recognized more pain and shoulder problems due to this reason and the schools now teach cardiac sonographers to scan left handed.
I was in a facility when I was doing applications and I came across a girl who had been in the field for five years, she normally scanned left handed but had already developed pain in her left hand and shoulder therefore scanning with her right hand. Because she was so used to sitting as she scanned she was scanning the patient in the supine position and was obtaining some of the worst images. I wanted to go over and turn the patient on their side and take over because I knew a tilt of the heart would bring in the most crisp images. I wasn’t in a position to be able to tell this girl how to do her job so I just sat back and cringed as she rushed through the exam not giving a care.
If you only have been doing this five years and your already scanning in pain chances are this is not the profession for you.
Selfcare as a sonographer is so important, not only doing the recommended stretches but a once a month massage was what I did to not only prevent future injury and pain but it was also a great way to let go of added up work stress. Other methods of reaching the same results include yoga, acupuncture and a method that has been around since 1,550 B.C. that I think is totally weird, I never tried it so I can’t really judge but I probably won’t be trying anytime soon and that method is called Cupping Therapy. This is where a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create a suction. It’s suppose to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow and relaxation as a type of deep tissue massage. The downside of this is the bruising it leaves behind. Feel free to share your stories if you have done this.
In the long run left handed scanning is better for you MSK wise, when I tried to convert to left handed scanning I was too slow, due to the hand eye coordination. In a way I wish I would have been more patient with myself and stuck with it, as I feel like there are more obese patient’s in today’s society as their were back when I learned Echo.