This is from an accomplished co-worker, who was also my instructor when I was a student.
I overheard a conversation he was having with a new tech at work the other day; she had just graduated and was feeling slow on OB detail ultrasound cases (but weren’t we all at that stage) and this was the advice he gave her.
“Use a 15-Second Rule to improve your pace of assessing and imaging baby.”
But limit yourself to only 15 seconds of assessing each fetal body part before imaging. If it takes you longer than 15 seconds to get the image, baby is not in the right position and you should move on. Find the next thing on your list to assess and document and come back to that later.
For example: Trying for heart views? Hover around the heart for no more than 15 seconds while trying to determine if an image can be taken. If baby is in a good position (ie. Belly up, stretched out and not curled into a little ball) you will be able to optimally visualize the heart within 15 seconds. You then know that you can now assess and document the required pictures.
If baby is laying belly down or curled tightly up it will take more than 15 seconds to get a good glimpse of the heart, and probably much longer of a struggle for an image, which will only result in frustration, poor image quality and a sore wrist. Those pictures will not be worth the struggle and will waste your precious time.
This holds true for other position dependant images of baby such as spine, kidneys, feet, face and head.
Now this is a BRILLIANT rule because most of us already know how to function this way.
This is something that we already intuitively understand how to do. When we look away from the road to check the speedometer or mileage or to check which radio station is playing we instinctively look for less than 15 seconds before turning our attention back to the more pressing concern of driving without crashing.
Scanning is similar, we can only take so long checking other things before we must return our attention to bigger matters.
So the next time you are scanning an OB detail case, remember that it took you no more than 15 seconds to make navigational decisions when driving to work this morning, and it shouldn’t take you more than 15 seconds to navigate this baby.
As always it gets better with practice, so keep at it!