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Lucinda Mulcahy | Sonographer

From Scans to Care: A Sonographer’s Typical Day

Lucinda Mulcahy, a motivated Year 10 student, embarked on a captivating journey into the world of sonography during her immersive week-long work experience at Ultrasound Care. Her keen interest led her to interview Karen, one of our experienced specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) Sonographers, delving into the intricacies of their day-to-day life. With enthusiasm and curiosity, Lucinda gained firsthand insights into the dynamic profession of sonography, offering an engaging narrative that unveils the challenges and rewards of this specialised field. Here, we proudly present her compelling article, where she artfully encapsulates the essence of a sonographer’s daily routine.

How did you become a specialist O&G sonographer – did you receive lots of special training?  

I completed a 3-year undergrad in Radiography, which gave me the qualifications to perform X-Rays, MRIs, and CT scans. After Uni, I worked as a radiographer for a couple of years however I did not find it very interesting, so my boss suggested I specialise in either MRIs or ultrasounds. I decided on ultrasounds and did a 2-year post grad course to become a sonographer. I worked as a general sonographer and 2 years later I moved to the UK where I specialised in OBGYN work which I really enjoyed. When I came back to Australia I started working as an O&G sonographer here at Ultrasound care.

Is there anything/anyone that inspired you to become a specialist O&G sonographer?  

My brother had a tumour on his spine when he was younger, so I would often attend a lot of appointments with him. On one occasion at his MRI scan, I asked the radiographer about her job, and she explained that she did imaging. As both my parents were nurses, I was very familiar with healthcare and medical related jobs. I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. On paper, radiography seemed like a good job, and I found the course interesting too. A sonographer is a bit more of a hands-on job in comparison to being a radiographer, which is something I really like.

What is the difference between an O&G sonographer and a general sonographer? 

General sonographers do a range of scans like abdominal scans, thyroid, breasts, whereas an O&G is more specific to women’s health and specialises in areas such as fertility, post-menopausal, general pelvic ultrasounds, and pregnancies.

What do you like best about your job? 

That it’s different. You see something new every day! It’s so interesting. Sometimes we see things that no one has ever really seen before, so we can act as a second opinion for some patients. We also perform a range of high-risk pregnancies, so we see patients that may have previously had complicated issues to ensure that they gain the high-quality tertiary care they need.

What is the most difficult part of your job? 

Breaking bad news, it’s the worst and in my 17 years of experience it never gets easier. It’s very emotionally taxing as you’re with some patients on a journey. Sometimes they have been trying to become pregnant for years and it can be really hard to let them know when something is wrong.

Is there any truth to old wives’ tales? Can you tell if somebody is having a boy or girl by looking at them?’ 

In my opinion, nope! There is a 50/50 chance of a boy or a girl, so I don’t really believe in them. One of the old wives’ tales is a heart rate test apparently if the baby’s heart rate is faster it’s a boy and if its slower it’s a girl, but I don’t believe in them!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to a soon to be mum? 

Everything is just a phase. Expect bad sleep – it’s a given. It won’t get easier, but it will just be different. Also make sure your partner knows how to use the car seat! If it’s a capsule that you can remove, make sure that your partner knows how to use it and remembers to bring it to the hospital as you can’t leave the hospital with your baby unless you have the capsule or the pram.

If you weren’t an O&G sonographer, what would you be? 

I have always wanted to do charity work and charity events, work that helps other people. I have done a lot of charity events relating to cancer and that would be something that I’d love to do as a job.

At Ultrasound Care, we take pride in our team of skilled sonographers who contribute to the joy and reassurance we bring to expectant parents every day. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for enquiries or to book your appointment.

Interview by Lucinda Mulcahy