Felicia McLaren (PGT)
- Course: Diagnostic Imaging PGDip
- Year of graduation: 2020
- Job title: Trainee Sonographer
Doing the Diagnostic Imaging PGDip course at Leeds allowed me to complete obstetrics, gynaecological and general medical ultrasound modules in conjunction with each other. You get academic education as well as clinical training where you learn to scan real patients in hospitals. This course provided me with the opportunity to become a fully qualified sonographer in obstetrics, gynaecological and general medical ultrasound and hopefully get a post rotating throughout these areas.
I really enjoy the mix between academic lectures and clinical practice. You get to learn the theory behind scanning, ultrasound appearances and reporting, then you go to work in a hospital with real patients doing your own scans where you can practically apply the knowledge you have learnt.
The highlight of the course has been learning to scan! Doing obstetric scans for patients and showing people their babies is such a great feeling, I love it! I get excited to go into work and I find the job really fulfilling. You also get to work alongside different professions, such as radiologists, obstetricians and midwives. In lectures, we often discuss our own experiences from clinical practice and speaking to people from a different profession to your own, you learn a lot! You are able to see what your role means in the bigger picture of the patient’s pathway.
A challenging aspect of the course is the academic workload and deadlines, and fitting this in around full time work as a trainee sonographer. I found the best way to manage the workload is to start assignments as early as possible, be organised and access academic support where possible. Handing in draft work and getting feedback from lecturers helps you progress with your academic work, stay on track and meet deadlines.
The quiet area in the library has been great for completing academic assignments and revision for exams. There is access to a wide range of really useful ultrasound books that have come in handy, particularly for revision. The skills at library team were also really helpful, I went in for some advice on referencing for one of my essays and they talked me through the university referencing guidelines.
The postgraduate diploma in medical ultrasound is very busy. You are either working full time or fitting academic work in around lectures and clinical. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to be part of a society or club. However, there are loads to choose from if you do.
A key requirement to get a place on the course is having a clinical placement that will support you through the course. You need to apply for a trainee sonographer position within a hospital who will provide you with your clinical training alongside this university course. Get lots of ultrasound experience to build your knowledge and personal statement.
Once qualified I hope to work in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts as a sonographer working in obstetric, gynaecological and general medical ultrasound. The postgraduate diploma in medical ultrasound will provide me with the qualification I need in order to pursue this career and apply for roles within the NHS.