I have been fortunate and have been able to attend multiple types of conferences to benefit my career and I can’t say enough good things about them. Weather I was there to work and still able to sit in on talks or I was solely there to attend the conference either way I left with takeaways.
Every year, as major societies host scientific sessions, sonographers yearn to earn their ‘‘golden ticket.’’ Decisions are made whether sonographers will be able to attend educational events based on available funds in the department. The intent of continuing education is to ensure that staff continually update their knowledge as health-care needs change. Is the lack of funding the barrier standing between the diligent sonographer and more education?
Studies have found that finances were not always the primary barrier. Educational events were perceived as being those that should occur only during the work day. Commitments outside of work and lack of a work-life balance were major deterrents to attending education events. Personal motivation, peer support, and mutual learning have also been shown to be factors in the pursuit of career development.
There is a known drop in morale due to the relative increase in staff workload when other employees are attending an off-site meeting. A non-supportive work environment from management or peers can be detrimental to a group. In extreme cases, peer envy can result in a group mindset that prevents peer support for the individuals that are academically motivated. Professional envy can result in a destructive and disruptive environment and may promote a faster decline in morale.
As sonographers, we work each day to elevate ourselves and help our co-workers. Sonographers can flourish in the academic field and can cheer on their peers if their friends’ names are in print or their colleague is presenting at a national meeting. Sonographers can ask to be mentored and can begin by identifying opportunities that are open around them whether it is at work, in a local society, or national organization. They can look for opportunities within their own labs and can participate actively in research and education.
Sonographer Society guidelines recognize schooling alone is insufficient to teach the complex nature of sonography, and it is important for the individual sonographer to take the initiative to educate themselves.
Is money a scapegoat for something else that might be missing? Lifelong learning is a personal responsibility. Self-motivated learners can invest in themselves by accessing the wide variety of webinars, didactic tutorials, and topic-specific lectures led by leaders in the Ultrasound world.
We invest in a gym to help us stay fit, and we invest in the stock market to increase our monetary worth. Isn’t it time to consider investing in ourselves to increase our education and proficiency in our careers? Investing in professional memberships, investing funds to attend a conference, and investing time in volunteering at local or national societies are all avenues to education and life-long learning. Personal motivation and supporting our peers are how we can make a difference in the educational process at work. A personal focus on being a life-long learner can help fill the educational gaps if the ‘‘golden ticket’’ is not found.