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Patient Care … Why We Are Here [Part 2]

Today, DARLA MATTHEW BAS, RT, RDMS completes the chronicle of her experiences assisting Project Vietnam Foundation and jump-starting an ultrasound training program in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam_StudentsAs I mentioned in Part 1, the genuine gratitude and eagerness that you observe while traveling abroad to assist in humanitarian causes is transformative and eye-opening. Although some people carry a natural sense of anxiety toward foreign travel, my experience on multiple visits to Uganda was remarkably similar to Darla’s.

The overwhelming aura was a thirst (or hunger) for the technology and resources to help their patients and to achieve self-reliance, as well as a profound thankfulness — sharing the common aspirations of improving health care and love of family.


Ultrasound Training in Ho Chi Minh City (continued)

(Part 2 of 2)

During that year (see Part 1 here), Dr. Phuc met with physicians weekly as promised and diligently studied physics, as we began helping him prepare documents for the ARDMS exams. We agreed to deliver additional instruction in first trimester OB and in gynecology and additional lectures in ultrasound physics.

Vietnam_Dr_Phuc-2By six months, Dr. Phuc reported that he understood 70% of the Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation textbook. “It’s interesting to understand how to create a good ultrasound image and understand the limitations of an ultrasound machine.” he stated. He also reported that the trainees were practicing seriously as they were taught but had some challenges with the fetal heart, obtaining a history and relating previous examination data, which was not a standard practice in Vietnam.

We also gained support from the International Foundation for Education and Research (IFSER) during that year. They supported the assessment of the physicians through use of the SCAN and agreed to endorse a certificate of achievement to physicians who were directly observed and demonstrated the ability to complete a level II OB exam.

Vietnam_Students_Entire_ClassUpon our return to Vietnam a year later, Dr. Phuc met us with the news that he had successfully earned ARDMS credentials in OB/GYN! The training schedule this time included lectures in first trimester, GYN and more ultrasound physics as promised. All eight of the physicians who presented themselves for direct observation were able to demonstrate appropriate scanning skills and were awarded a certificate of achievement. However despite the accomplishments, there still remain many challenges to the dream of a formal ultrasound training program in Vietnam. When asked what Dr. Phuc would like to say about ultrasound education in Vietnam his response was “I want more and more Vietnamese doctors and sonographers to recognize the value of a true academic ultrasound education. I wonder why KFC, Starbucks, and McDonalds have been able to expand in Vietnam while American ultrasound education has not. I hope that Vietnamese sonographers will someday love American ultrasound education like Vietnamese love KFC and McDonalds’ food!

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