Forrest General Hospital to serve as clinical site for new PRCC ultrasound program

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With the help of the Department of Radiology at Forrest General Hospital, students in Pearl River Community College’s first Diagnostic Medical Sonography program will gain valuable experience. The DMS program, which began with the fall semester in August, is a 12-month program. Upon completion, students will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree and qualify to take the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) test.

“The PRCC started this program after contacting area schools to let them know we needed technicians to meet the needs of our patients,” said Shannon Vega, director of the radiology department at Forrest General. “We contacted PRCC Radiology Program Director, Hope Husband, Mr. Ed. RT(R), (ARRT), and let him know that we were in need, struggling with our staff like other medical facilities in the area because there were not enough schools offering courses like these, and they responded. It is the result of extensive networking between the employees of our radiology department, the hospital administration and the PRCC.

Currently, seven students are enrolled in classes held at the Forrest County campus. According to Micki Jo Robertson, BS, RT(R) RDMS, who is PRCC Program Director. Clinics will begin on September 22.

Diagnostic medical ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of organs, masses, fluid collections and vascular structures in the human body. Ultrasound is user dependent, requiring skilled and highly trained professionals to be part of the integral healthcare system. Sonographers have direct and extensive contact with patients, providing care for a variety of people from health to critically ill. The sonographer is responsible for obtaining the relevant patient history, performing the ultrasound examination, accommodating the needs and comfort of the patient during the examination, and recording anatomy and pathology or other data to be interpreted by the supervising physician to facilitate diagnosis.

Ultrasound is commonly used in the field of obstetrics and gynecology for purposes ranging from confirming and/or dating pregnancies to diagnosing diseases of the female reproductive system. Sonographers should have knowledge of the normal structure and functional anatomy of the human body and use independent judgment to recognize the need to perform procedures based on ultrasound findings.

“FGH is delighted to partner with the PRCC School of Ultrasound,” said Vega. “We have worked closely with Robertson and Clinical Coordinator/Instructor, Kendall Conerly, BS RDMS, RVT, to support their program and hope that students will gain valuable insight into this area after spending time with our staff during the clinics.”

Forrest General’s clinical instructor in radiology departments, Courtney Powell, will supervise the students during their training. “It’s exciting since you’re first class,” Powell told students who toured the hospital earlier this week. “It means you will always be part of history. With that in mind, be patient, everyone you meet is also their first time. You will all learn together. Stay patient and teachable, and I know you will all succeed.

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