Research has shown many times that laughter is good medicine. It relieves stress and helps people keep events in perspective. Sonography students and professionals have important responsibilities, but that does not mean they never laugh while completing studies or while busy working in healthcare settings. From fetus images that look like anything except a human baby to medical humor jokes, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers just say, “It is all in a day’s work.”
Here is the Real Scoop
One joke goes like this: “I love my easy job. All I do is press buttons and take baby pictures all day!” said NO ultrasound Tech EVER. The “aaawww, so cute” factor that people assume is a natural part of the job does exist. However, the honest truth is that the “baby pictures” often seem to have no relationship to human babies. The fetus looks more like a creature from outer space or a cartoon character or maybe Darth Vader.
On days like those, the sonographer puts on a professional face, hands the mysterious images to the beaming parents and graciously pretends like it is the best-looking fetus on the face of the earth. The fetus images certainly present the most opportunities for some light-hearted moments.
It is remarkable how the unformed humans can look so…well…human. There are sonograms showing the fetus giving a thumbs-up, flashing a peace sign with two fingers in a v-formation, sucking a thumb, sticking a finger up a nostril, sticking out a tongue and doing a myriad of other normal but sometimes rude gestures.
All the sonographer can say is, “Aaaawww, so cute.”
Oozing Professional Pride and Insecurities
One of the noticeable features of sonography humor is that it is often a bit on the defensive. Here is a good example: “No, I am not ‘just a tech”. I’m a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. But thanks for thinking I am incompetent!” How about the one that simply says, “I am not the nurse!” Here is yet another joke going around sonography circles: “I am here to perform your ultrasound and also listen to every inappropriate detail of your life that you will likely share with me.”
Some of the jokes make ultrasound technicians sound a bit testy, but that just reflects their professional pride. Sonographers work hard, deal with a variety of patients who are in all kinds of moods, pitch in and help other healthcare professionals when time permits and still get called tech or nurse (anything but their real title). It is enough to make a sonographer wonder if it was worth attending that difficult CAAHEP accredited program that cost a bundle. (The answer? It was!)
Keep Calm and Scan On!
Sonography students have their own brand of humor. A good sign of how serious they are in real life is the fact there is a joke about the ARDMS registry test. It goes like this, “Both B and C are correct, but B is more correct.” Of course, getting to the point where it is even possible to take the test required a lot of dedication. That explains the cartoon humor showing a lady holding up an empty whiteboard and claiming it is a picture of a sonography student’s social life while completing an ultrasound program.
Older sonographers tell the students they have never had it so good. Just like the story of President Abraham Lincoln trudging 10 miles one way in the snow to attend school, older sonographers like to point out they had to push two-an-a-half ton ultrasound dinosaur equipment piled with not one, but two monitors, around hospital hallways.
Who can blame sonography students if they seem a bit daft after staring at pictures of venous stasis ulcers, multisegmental disease, arterial waveform patterns, and the endometrial cycle all day? In the same vein (pun intended), who can blame Diagnostic Medical Sonographers if they seem a little callous at times with their jokes? It is all in a day’s work.
Scan on, sonographers. Scan on.