Meet your Sonographer – Jackie Jenkins, Ultrasound Services Manager

Jackie and her team recently joined us from Surrey Ultrasound Services (SUS) and are now working as part of DHC to deliver ultrasound scanning services at several locations in Surrey. To get to know Jackie and her ambitions further, we posed 10 questions. Here’s what she had to say…

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a sonographer?

As an A level student, I was sent on a Summer school at the Royal Free hospital in London. While there, I was placed in an Ultrasound room and watched in awe as a sonographer told a young couple expecting their first baby that they were having twins! It was at that moment I thought, ‘I want to do that!’.

Ultrasound has given me so much. I have worked as an application specialist with 3D/4D ultrasound machines and managed Guy’s & St Thomas’ Ultrasound department for 8 years. I’ve even lectured on many different aspects of ultrasound; my most daunting was 350 Radiologists at the Barbican. If you watch Lord Winston on ‘Child of our Time’, you will see me scanning the now adults when they were in their mother’s tummy. I even got to tell the mothers the sex of their babies.

My love for this community-based service started when I met some GPs on an ultrasound course. I worked with them in a GP setting and loved the continuity of care. We set up Surrey Ultrasound Services in 2005 and I’ve never looked back.

I have lived in Redhill for 25 years and I am so grateful to love what I do and work with so many patient-focused, like-minded clinicians.

What types of ultrasound services does your team offer and for what purposes?

We aim to continue providing a diagnostic ultrasound service in the community to support our clinicians. The types of scans range from abdominal, renal, gynaecological, scrotal and many more.

Could you walk us through what’s involved in an ultrasound?

Usually, the patient will follow preparation instructions, which may include fasting or filling their bladder before the ultrasound. We will ask them to remove any clothing covering the area we are scanning and use tissue to protect any clothing. Once the patient is lying on the couch, we use a clear, water based lubricant gel to help slide our transducer around the area we are imaging. Sound waves are directed at the area to view, and the reflected ultrasound signal helps to produce a greyscale image.

After we have the images we need, we wipe off the gel and the patient is free to continue with their day.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a sonographer?

Meeting new people every day and hopefully providing answers to the questions of patients and clinicians. Our job is like a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of surprises; we never know who we might meet and what we might find. Every day is a surprise.

What advice would you give to any future sonographers considering this profession?

I lecture to ultrasound students at City University in London and many other clinicians. I would say that ultrasound is an interesting, problem-solving career, and the learning is endless. This opens many doors in academia, research, management and even TV work. After 34 years in ultrasound, there is always something new to learn. We work as independent practitioners, form part of the patient pathway and integrate in a multidisciplinary team. I’d like to think that my passion for ultrasound inspires others.

 

What role does patient feedback and satisfaction play in shaping the delivery of ultrasound services?

Feedback is hugely important as we are here to make the patient’s pathway diagnostic, empathic and hopefully both educational and an enjoyable experience, to a point! It’s always so nice to receive a thank you letter or positive feedback – it can really make your day! But it’s also very important to listen when things are not perfect or have not gone so well, to help drive transformation in the way we offer our service and improve it for others.

In what ways do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and joined-up care for patients?

In the community, we are part of a much wider group of specialists, from GPs and consultants to nurse practitioners and paramedics, to name a few. But the community talks! We have access to patient information relevant to the scan and can contact surgeries immediately to discuss any concerns. No one is unreachable, and that makes our job so much more satisfying and enjoyable.

What advancements in ultrasound technology have you witnessed throughout your career, and how have they improved patient care?

Transvaginal ultrasound was not taught when I qualified but it’s now one of my favourite areas. I was very fortunate to be an application specialist at the beginning of the 3D/4D ultrasound and was involved in demonstrations and TV work at that time.

The technology is always advancing, and I am now very interested in how we can better image fatty livers. So, watch this space…

What advancements do you anticipate in the next three years?

Ultrasound can be used in many ways, and as the technology becomes cheaper, it will become available at more sites. Fatty livers are something we commonly see. A recent liver study day at City University had new technology from many of our manufacturers, and I can really see this improving our diagnostic capabilities in the future.

What are you most excited about with SUS joining DHC?

DHC and SUS have worked together for many years and we have grown alongside each other. My team and I are so excited to join DHC and push forward with our ideas to improve community diagnostics for patients. I love that our appointments are local and fitted into people’s everyday lives, without expensive car parks or taking a morning or afternoon out of their working day. GPs get instant results and outcomes can be acted on quickly. We have the flexibility to deal with the more complicated cases but also provide an empathic and individually tailored service for our patients.

DHC has gone from strength to strength and I am so proud that our smaller company has been asked to join DHC. I know that we have much more to achieve. We want to provide the highest quality of scans while advancing the knowledge of my team and all clinicians who use our services.


We extend a warm welcome to Jackie and her team, and look forward to seeing what the promising future holds for ultrasound services at DHC.

Read more about our Ultrasound services here

About DHC

DHC (Dorking Healthcare) has grown out of a collaboration of Dorking GP practices to become an NHS provider organisation that serves a population of around 140,000 people across Surrey.
Our services cover primary care, community health, outpatient services and mental health