Life · Sonography

My First Week of Clinicals

Well, it came. And I most definitely conquered.

The day I anxiously awaited for a full semester, and a month long winter break came faster than I expected, and went better than I expected.

The day before my first clinical rotation, I had my first lecture day of my Spring semester. My classmates and I excitedly began our “Missed you” “How was your break?” and “Do you think we have a quiz?” chatter right away. My days outside of clinical (Tuesday / Thursdays) last from 1:30pm to 7:30pm. I had Abdominal Sonography class, and Physics class. As in any science, or medical major… there really is just no such thing as “syllabus day.” You start lecture straight away. We started learning scrotal/testicular scanning, and thyroid scanning on Day 1. In Physics, we had a “welcome back quiz” (Eye-roll) and a lecture on Wave Lengths, and Frequency.

Our minds were really on just one thing though: CLINICAL

I get super bad anxiety, and nausea (from being so anxious) so all night I was laying in bed trying to focus on breathing. But honestly, I didn’t even need to be!

I got into NYC on the Long Island Rail Road at 8:00am just to be sure I would be in time for my 9 am shift (because sometimes subways can be a little blah with arriving on time!) I took the train with my classmate, Kelly. She had her rotation at a nearby hospital.

When I got to the hospital, I was a little lost as is anyone in a hospital, but in no time I found my way through the radiology lab into the sonography lab. A few minutes later, I was greeted by my clinical director at the lab, (I’ll call her- I.R.) She was so welcoming! I felt comfortable within minutes. She sort of has that “you’re my daughter at work I am taking you under my wing so follow me and you will learn everything” vibe. And by the end of the day, that vibe proved to be true!

I met two of the other senior sonographers right away, too. They were L.J, and I.V. Later on I met the last tech in the General Abdominal lab, M.M. For the first day I observed I.R. for 14 cases, and assisted on 6. I was so pleased with how many scans I actually helped her with on my FIRST day ever. It was really so nice and considerate of I.R because usually first day interns will just watch until they feel trusted enough by the other techs to touch patients. At the end of the day, I.R finished her shift and for the last hour, I observed M.M perform 3 Pelvic and Transvaginal scans.

A general idea of some of the cases I saw were of the following:

  • Pelvic fibroids
  • Cirrhosis
  • Splenomegaly
  • Cysts
  • Fatty Liver
  • Masses

It was so eye-opening. I learn a lot during class lectures, and studying- but learning during your clinical rotation is a whole different style. I generally do better with hands-on learning so this is working out a lot better than reading from a textbook. Actually performing the scan and ACTUALLY measuring a kidney stone, or seeing an edematous gall bladder is completely different from reading it on your Power Point slides.

Honestly, I don’t mean to get all cheesy but, I left my first day of clinical feeling so, so, so blessed. Most students didn’t have a good first day, and I left feeling like I had the greatest first day I could possibly have. Everyone at the office was so welcoming, and helped me learn new things and their tricks to finding certain vessels, or how to get a clearer shot of the liver, showed me around, and made me feel like I wasn’t a 20 year-old student following them around all day – but more like one of them that they truly want to train to be as good as they are. (on the FIRST day!)

My second day was yesterday. I felt excited in the morning to get started. My first case of the day was a Cirrhotic Liver, and I did the entire scan (with assistance). I did a handful of patients on my own which was really nerve-wracking because protocol is honestly a lot to remember but with some help from I.R, I didn’t do too bad! Usually first time clinical students take pictures for the sonogram but the sonographers will delete the shots after, and re-do the scan on their own for better photos to report to the doctor- But she actually kept my photos, and the doctor used them! I felt very proud. 🙂

My cases yesterday were mostly the same but a few different:

  • Polyps
  • Kidney Stones
  • Nodules on the Thyroid

Overall, this site is going great. I really feel (already) that I am going to have a hard time leaving the amazing sonographers teaching me and their lab in March when I get placed at a different site for Echocardiography. But for now, I am going to enjoy my time here.

Of course, I am incredibly busy this semester (and probably will be until the day I graduate) with keeping up on lectures, reading my textbooks, studying for tests, scanning patients, and working at my part-time job all while trying to keep sane… but I will keep you all updated as much as I can.

Thanks for being interested, and reading about my first week. xo




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