The Allied Health and Nursing Division at Lorain County Community College is committed to complimenting the academic experience with real-world experience.
The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is one example. Sonography students practice on patient volunteers. "We want our students," said DMS program director Craig Peneff, "to practice doing a standard exam. As they polish those skills, we include 3D imaging."
All obstetric volunteers are required to have had a pregnancy ultrasound through their doctor after 15 weeks. "This allows us," said Peneff, "to know that they are seeing a doctor and they have had an official scan." The DMS program has been offering free scans to volunteers for 10 years.
Peneff is in his 14th year as director of LCCC’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program.
He has been a part of the program since its inception. "Years ago, they did a need survey in the community," said Peneff, "it came back that local hospitals were having difficulties finding people to staff their positions for sonographers or ultrasound professionals. The needs analysis justified starting the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program."
The ultrasound volunteer component is a part of the program’s evolution. The educational benefit is hard to miss. "My daughter had medical problems when she was younger," said DMS student Laura Brookshire. "We had to have lots of ultrasounds. I became very interested in it. As a student, depending on the clinical site, we see a variety of exams like vascular, OB, abdomen, a variety of studies. We get to help the doctor diagnose by having volunteers come into the lab. We do fetal and other ultrasounds just for practice and we get to work with the radiologists and licensed sonographers in the hospitals."
January Torres is an ultrasound volunteer. For her, the benefit is in the student opportunity. "I enjoy helping the students have hands on experience. Plus, I have benefited by having the ultrasound done here (at LCCC) instead of having to travel."
The DMS students are not alone when the ultrasounds are performed. "There is always a lab assistant certified in the areas of operation present," said Peneff.
If you are interested in volunteering for this program please click here and be directed to the Allied Heath and Nursing Division.