I run a cardiovascular laboratory in a major New York city hospital under the supervision of a prominent cardiologist. This cardiologist also has a cardiovascular laboratory in his private practice that is accredited not only in echo but also in extracranial, venous, arterial, and visceral vascular ultrasound. In my view, this trend toward combined laboratories is a positive one, primarily because it is the cardiologists who will likely oversee these combined entities. Why do I think this is positive? Because cardiologists are more skilled at scanning and ultrasound interpretation than vascular surgeons will ever be. Also, the other technologists and I who work with our cardiologist were vascular technologists before we were echocardiographers, and it was the cardiologist who brought us to a high level of technical and interpretation skills. I really can’t imagine a vascular surgeon teaching an echocardiographer to do vascular.
I also suspect that having combined laboratories will raise the bar in the profession—it is true that today it is difficult to find a sonographer who is highly skilled in both modalities. And when you do find one, you’ll have to pay him or her well enough to match his or her qualifications and skills. I think that the demand for diverse and high level skills, combined with a willingness to pay for them, will increase the value and attractiveness of the profession.
Ossama Youssef, BS, RVT
Clinical Cardiovascular Supervisor
Cabrini Medical Center
New York, NY
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