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A Sound Understanding

Sonographers are experts in capturing diagnostic images that help guide treatment decisions for a wide variety of conditions. At Mizzou, Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound (DMU) students learn how to hone that clinical skill, and they also learn to participate in the science of medical imaging. By participating in original research projects and case studies, these students are advancing the body of knowledge that guides clinical practice in sonography.

Katie Partridge is a master’s student in the DMU program. Originally from Eldon, she always knew she wanted to come to a large university, and Mizzou fit the bill. She started as pre-med, but soon learned there were plenty of other patient care career options. “DMU gives me the opportunity to help people and participate in patient care, it suits my detail-oriented nature, and it gave me options for graduate study,” Partridge said.

Students in the DMU program complete rigorous classroom and clinical education requirements, but the Mizzou program is unique in its requirement for undergraduates to complete case studies and IRB-approved research that is designed, implemented, analyzed and authored by students with a faculty mentor. Many of these – about half – are accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Partridge’s case study, “Sonographic Detection of Pseudoaneurysm From Ankle Sprain Injury,” was recently published in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (2019).  She also won first place in the student research competition at the SDMS Annual Conference in 2018 for her paper, “Perceived Psychological Stress and Carotid Artery Blood Flow Velocity in Professional Clinical Students.”

She was not intimidated by the research component of the program. “I had great writing training,” she explained. “It’s hard work on top of everything else, but being a published author makes me more marketable, and the skills that come with understanding original research will set me apart,” she said.

Dr. Lea Ann Lowery, the School of Health Professions Faculty Fellow for Interprofessional Education, invited Partridge to present her case study and lead faculty and students in discussion during an IPE Grand Rounds early in 2019. For Partridge, it’s just one more example of how her education is preparing her for clinical practice and leadership in sonography.

“The program and faculty are absolutely focused on making students successful,” she said. “And not just successful at passing exams, but becoming excellent clinicians and successful humans in work and life.”

DMU Program Director Moses Hdeib explains why the unique program at Mizzou makes a difference. “Our students are not only prepared to be competent sonographers who provide exemplary patient care and obtain high-quality diagnostic images, but they are also prepared to assume leadership roles in the profession by advancing evidence-based practice and understanding the value and benefits of interdisciplinary team-based care.”

Partridge will graduate later this year, and hopes to work clinically for a few years before transitioning in to health care administration.