This article, featured in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, was written to correct public misconceptions (created in large part by the media) regarding the important roles that cardiac sonographers and vascular technologists play in providing quality health care for patients in the United States.1 The author is concerned that the media, through its’ depiction of sonography, ultrasonography, and medical imaging, is undoing the work that various sonographic organizations, as well as the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, undertook to advance the profession.
The new information learned from the paper is the actual importance of media on the public’s perception of sonography and medical imaging. Prior to reading this article, the episode of House discussed in the article would not have been generally concerning. While it is important to maintain the utmost degree of professionalism at all times in the workplace, a scene where a physician flirts with an imaging technician would not have seemed as influential (or damaging) as the article would like the readers to believe. It is important to remember that when technicians are depicted like this in the media, it undermines the profession as a whole, and may lead people to believe that sonography is not a really serious profession.
This information in this article relates to not only the medical profession, but every profession featured in the media at one time or another. As the article discussed, there may be cultural or political forces at work that motivate the media to portray a profession in a certain light. This would prove especially challenging to those professions who struggle to overcome negative (or at least unfavorable) stereotypes.
While the thoughts expressed in the article are certainly convincing, it is a bit difficult to completely agree with them. It is arguably true that viewers may perceive sonographers and vascular technologists in line with something that they saw on television, or read in the newspaper. However, it may be challenging for any reader to make the leap that viewers suddenly believe that because a doctor is carrying around a palm pilot filled with information, that society would not value the importance of the technician who input that information into the device, simply because they are not given credit for doing so in the Wall Street Journal. Further, anyone who has ever received a diagnostic test result cannot discount the importance of the technician conducting that test. One also cannot easily make the leap from the representation of a character in a television show, to that character jeopardizing an entire profession.
This topic relates to the development of optimum sonography practice, in that it motivates cardiac sonographers and vascular technologists to band together to represent the profession in the best way possible. It encourages unity within the profession, and demands that the professionals take pride in their work. The article describes clear and accurate communication with both medical providers and patients. It serves as the model to which those working in the profession should aspire to, even by providing the detail regarding the step-by-step account of the ethnographic study conducted in the Netherlands. Medical professionals should use every tool at their disposal to deliver optimum sonography practices and results.
1. Evans KD. Unplugging the Public as to the Production of Sonography. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. 2006; 22(2):138-141.