Employee Snapshot: Hannah Ballinger - Sonographer
Q: What does your average day look like at AIRM?
A: “After coming in and turning on my machine, I start scanning Dr. Long’s patients. I also send in medications, explain treatments to patients, and take them to get blood work done. I also complete anything else that Dr. Long needs me to do to prep the patient.
Q: How does sonography work?
A: “We do a few different types of sonogram: Baselines, monitoring, and OB monitoring. With baseline [sonograms] I am checking the lining of the uterus and checking the ovary to make sure they do not have any cysts. For monitoring ultrasounds, I make sure the [uterus] lining is thick enough for implantation and look at the follicles in each ovary. I count all the follicles in each ovary and measure the largest follicles. Those are the potential eggs that are going to be ovulated.”
Q: Why is egg follicle size important?
A: It helps us decide when they will take the HCG trigger shot which allows them to ovulate and hopefully get pregnant. So, determining the size of the follicle is a big deal. If it is under 1.8 centimeters it is not mature enough.
Q: What initially interested you in sonography?
A: “When my uncle was younger, he was in a bicycle wreck, and they noticed he had blood in his urine when they took him to the hospital. When they did an ultrasound on him, they found a tumor called Wilms tumor. Usually when they find this on people it is too late because it grows so fast and you do not have many symptoms. But, his wreck allowed them to find the cancer early. Because of the sonogram, they were able to remove the kidney and saved his life.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at a fertility clinic?
A: “I worked in the traditional hospital setting and liked being able to work in many specialties. But here I am able to make a connection with patients and grow and have a relationship with them. I am helping a person have a baby which is amazing.”
Q: What is your philosophy behind the medial care you provide? (mindset for your practice or goal for how patients should respond to you)
A: “I understand that this is a very stressful process and they [our patients] do not need anything else to stress them out. So, I try to be as kind as I can be when I am in there. I try to make them feel comfortable and not scared. I try to talk them down if they are real nervous, and I try to just be as kind as possible.”
Q: Do you have any information or advice for new patients coming to you for an ultrasound?
A: “Many people do not come in knowing that it is going to be a vaginal ultrasound. They think it is going to be on top of the belly. But, doing a vaginal ultrasound gives us better images and a better layout of the land.”
Q: Is there anything special about the relationship that you and our patients with our practitioners?
A: With Dr. Long and Karen Hammond, they treat you like family. I think it is really important to have a good relationship with your doctor because you are a team. This allows us to treat our patients better and gives [patients] confidence when they see us working together as a team.”
A note from Joseph Bolon COO of AIRM: Hannah was added to the AIRM team in March of 2019 and has been a valuable addition to our practice. She has been able to assist Dr. Long in clinic which has allowed us to serve more patients in our clinic. Hannah is also always very professional in her bedside manner and communication skills.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.