Mindy Stedman, RDCS
WCUI Phoenix Cardiovascular Sonography Class of 2013
At times in life we
head down a seemingly straight path with big plans and clear purpose, only to be
diverted by an unexpected turn that leads us in a completely different and sometimes
more fulfilling direction. Mindy Stedman experienced such a life-changing
epiphany after heading down the path of nursing school as a single mother determined
to rise above her position at the VA hospital as a patient care tech. After
struggling in some of the nursing classes, she became fascinated by her
patients’ “echo” appointments in which highly skilled cardiac sonographers performed
complex ultrasound protocols to scan their hearts for disease, weaknesses, or
other cardiac pathologies. After experimenting with ultrasound equipment
through training offered on the job, she was hooked by the process and technology
to such a degree that she dropped out of nursing school and, after doing
extensive research, decided to enroll in the Associate Degree Program in
Cardiovascular Sonography (sometimes called “Echosonography” or just “Echo”) - at
West Coast Ultrasound Institute’s Phoenix campus.
Mindy hit the ground
running - working full time, raising her young son, and studying ultrasound at
night. Time flew by as she worked through courses in ultrasound physics,
vascular ultrasound, and clinical labs where she memorized the complicated
multi-step/ multi-view scanning protocols that are essential to scanning complicated
heart anatomy - valves, chambers, vessels, etc. With the support and
encouragement of instructors like John Pamiroyan, BS, RDCS and Tim Chambers,
MBA, RDCS, FASE as well as the confidence she gained from having worked in
healthcare for many years, she excelled in her externship period. In fact, her studies
were up to such a high level that many of her them were chosen to be analyzed
in the site’s re-accreditation process, which the company passed with flying
colors. Building on that momentum, Mindy took and passed her board exams and thereby
gained the higher level of respect and qualification that she needed to achieve
job success in her new field.
Fast forward two
years and she is the regional manager of the company and able to set her own
hours in the fast paced world of mobile ultrasound. She focuses on preventive
scanning, looking for symptoms and areas of weakness before more debilitating
disease or pathology materialize and cause serious consequences for the
patient. Ultimately, she is looking to move into a hospital setting where she
can work alongside the cardiologists who read the ultrasound studies. Judging
from her track record of success and determination, it won’t be long until she
achieves this ambitious goal. Read the interview below:
What got you interested in ultrasound? Was there a
moment when something “clicked” and you knew you wanted to be a sonographer?
I was in nursing
school, working as a patient care tech at the VA Hospital on a heart (cardiac) floor.
In that job I was always taking patients to echo appointments and
discovered that I had an interest in sonography.
What have you accomplished in ultrasound that you are most
I studied and got
registered in sonography right away. Also,
in externship my site was up for accreditation while I was there, and some of
my studies were chosen to be used for accreditation. Now after 2 years with my
company I am a regional manager.
What obstacles did you overcome to get to where you
are today in a position of success?
I struggled in the
other nursing school classes, as a single mom with a 3-year old, but then I
discovered echo sonography and began learning it on the job. On my next day
off, I quit the nursing school and went to WCUI in Phoenix to sign up for the
Who are the role models in your life and how have they
inspired you and helped you become successful?
My Echo program
director John Pamiroyan and instructor Tim Chambers were both my role models. I
still text them today if I ever have questions about images.
Tell me about some of memorable patients that you have
Since I work in
the mobile field, I'm on the preventative side. We always ask if the patient
has any symptoms and the patient will say generally say no, but then on
occasion I have seen 100% occlusion. I have had to stop and get a verbal from a
doctor right there.
What advice would you give a student who is just starting
out in ultrasound school?
I would say do
your research, go into any field knowing all about it and what the jobs are out
there. I did plenty of research before selecting WCUI.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time here at
I was a night
student and loved all of it. I still talk to a handful of students that went
through the program with me.
What makes you unique?
background helps because I understand how healthcare works. It has given me
What goals do you have for yourself in the field of
My job now is
great because I set my own schedule. My end goal is to be an echo technologist
in a hospital and work directly with the doctors.