When I was looking into healthcare careers some years ago, I really liked the idea of going into Radiology. There is, as there should be, a lot of pre-requisites to get into the program, and it was not something I could afford to do at the time. I ended up going for Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound instead. At the time, it was pretty fixed in my mind that I would like to give that a go, based on the horrible experience I had just had in the hospital.
I should have went with my gut, which was telling me to take my courses and get on the waiting list at my REAL college, and not rush into something. I didn’t listen. I didn’t want to wait.
Big, big mistake. I ended up going to one of those… erm… let me think of a nice way to say BullS@#$…horrible, waste of money and time…degree mills….schools that are advertised on television for “hot careers”. I was able to go with the help of the state re-employment funding, but in order to qualify, you have to choose a career with a good outlook projected for when you would be entering the workforce. The field can’t be holding steady, or going down, it has to be climbing. And then they have to approve the school, which means that at least one, and in this case it was just the one, program has to be a certified program. The governing bodies have to have this school registered as able to issue these credentials. And then the re-employment folks have to approve a million other things. And then you still have to pay out of pocket and/or get loans.
So I did that. The one good thing that came of it is that the school I attended happened to pair the Sonography with a Medical Assistant certification, so at least I had that at the end of it all. I am a straight-A student. I was on the honor roll the entire time I was there. But I am not currently a Sonographer.
The practical part. I hated it. I loved the learning, the study of disease, the testing, the reading, the helping people, etcetera. I did not love the actual technical part of holding the transducer, which is the part that is held on the patient’s body to pick up the signals, and wiggling and tracing my way to get a clear, perfect picture. It hurt my hand, which would cramp up after a few minutes. Then the nerves and tendons in my arms would start burning. And our patients were our fellow classmates. No one had any problems with their veins, or any disease, or any problems with their hearts or abdominal region, and everyone was fairly young and fit (not being mean or prejudiced in any way, as I am both old and overweight, but it is just plain easier to get a picture from a young, skinny body, because the picture is created by sound pinging off of what you are scanning), but it was still hard for me. I got pretty good pictures in our practices, but when it came time for the tests, we had to get a good picture on screen and then hold the transducer and the patient in place for when one of the teachers came around to see it. By that time, my hands and forearms would be screaming in pain and I probably lost the picture I had when I raised my hand to be checked. Unfortunately, you only find this out in the second or third “semester”. Your first few months in the program are not spent doing any practical training. This is when we learned lots of Medical Assistant functions, and did a lot of our book-learning. So, by the time I figured out that this may not be something I wanted to pursue, I was already stuck. And they plan it that way on purpose.
I ended up wasting a lot of money and time. The school was only specifically licensed for one of their many offered programs, so it was a big scam, and the teachers were a joke. I paid a lot of money for books and whatnot that were so old and outdated that we couldn’t even sell them back at end of term. They wouldn’t even take those books for free. Buyers beware, if these commercials look enticing, there’s a reason they have to advertise on TV. If it was on the up-and-up, they wouldn’t need to. I went first to one of the TV schools and didn’t feel comfortable. Then I went to two others, and picked the one that the state approved. The state would not have approved the TV school. But, I ended up getting screwed because I picked one that they did approve and it was terrible.
The clincher was when I got an M.A. job on my own, without the help of their “career center”. The gals there did everything they could to try to figure out where I was working, in order to try to get future positions from my practice, and to help them flesh out their list of practices where they “placed” their graduates. Leeches. I wouldn’t tell them, and my Office Manager was so happy. She had bad experiences with them, but hired me anyway. I was a little older, a little smarter, and had a wealth of front-end experience to use on the job than most of the other students churned out each summer from all these schools.
None of this would have been a problem if I went for Radiology. I need to go back to my real college anyway to finish up/re-calculate my credits. While I’m there, I’ll check to see what possibilities there are for me to start now, or sometime in the near future.