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From WCUI Employee to Graduate Success Spotlight: Roland Nazarian

WCUI Admissions Employee Becomes Hospital Cardiovascular Sonographer 

Roland Nazarian BS, RDCS, RVT, NCET was a graduate of the Los Angeles/Beverly Hills Campus Cardiovascular Sonography Class of 2011 who came to the sonography field in an unconventional manner. Working in the admissions department at West Coast Ultrasound Institute’s LA/Beverly Hills Campus, Roland was enjoying a successful career enrolling future medical imaging technologists eager to work in a growing healthcare field. Yet it was the exposure to ultrasound - from the dynamic physics classes he sat in on to the impressive machines and technologist control over real-time images that convinced him that he should make a career change into medicine. The more that he saw students turn into working graduates who were making serious differences in patients’ lives, the more that he became convinced that ultrasound, and more specifically, cardiovascular ultrasound was direction that he wanted to pursue. The high involvement and passion of administrative staff, as well as the exceptional quality of instructors at WCUI served to inspire him even more. 

Roland put himself into a very ambitious situation in which he worked full time during the week at the school, while attending classes on the weekend. Drawing encouragement from his family and coworkers, he applied for and became the only male recipient of the Allied Healthcare Professionals Scholarship at the school, and was also able to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout the course of his coursework at WCUI. Since he was working full time, he had to be more efficient and focused with learning and practicing scanning in much shorter time windows than the other students, yet he was able to become highly proficient in the subtleties of the profession despite such challenges. Before long he was excelling at his externship and preparing for his registry boards, which he quickly passed upon receiving eligibility.  

With the aid of his impressive resume and networking skills, Roland landed a job at prestigious Cedars-Sinai hospital after graduation.  In the cardiac department, he logged long hours and weeks demonstrating his intense work ethic, compassionate nature, and dependably excellent studies as a full time cardiovascular sonographer. Soon, he gained responsibilities and duties including performing vascular studies, assisting with cardiac research, and setting up and interpreting Holter monitor (Ambulatory ECG Monitor) results for the department physicians. These days, Roland can also be seen demonstrating the latest cardiovascular sonographic technology and machinery at ultrasound conferences across the country (pictured here at the 2016 American Society of Echocardiography Conference in Seattle, WA). Not content to rest on his laurels, he continues to push himself, expressing a desire to come back to school to learn Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound and Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease. WCUI is excited to see what the future holds for this admissions employee turned Cardiovascular Sonography superstar! Read the full interview below.

1. What got you interested in ultrasound?  Was there a moment when something “clicked” and you knew you wanted to be a cardiovascular sonographer?

Before I decided to pursue a field in ultrasound I was working in our admissions department at West Coast. As I got to learn more and more about our programs - how well the curriculum was designed and the great opportunity to get a chance to help people - I decided to sign up. Getting to know Myra Chason (WCUI president) and how involved she was with the students and staff really impressed me. You don’t see many super busy CEO's interact at that level with students and faculty.  Also influential to my decision was the fact that I got to know our professors, and saw how superior our programs were to our competitor schools.

2. What have you accomplished in ultrasound that you are most proud of?

I am proud to be able to integrate meaningful research along with my ultrasound scanning, and saving Cedars Sinai millions of dollars in prevention of hospital re-admissions along with helping to improve the quality of life in our congestive heart failure patients.

3. What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are today in a position of success?

I had to work Monday through Friday 8-5 pm, and then attend ultrasound school Friday night right after work, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t get to scan nearly as much as other students due to work.

4. Who are the role models in your life and how have they inspired you and helped you become successful? 

Other than the obvious moral support, my parents have pretty much put aside everything of their own to make my life easier, and supported me financially in every aspect until I finished ultrasound school and got a job. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

5. Tell me about the rewarding aspects of performing hands-on scanning and patient care full time.

There are many, but I have developed a close friendship with some of the sicker patients that need repeat studies constantly, and I have made some great friendships that way.

6. What advice would you give students who are just starting out in ultrasound school?

I would tell them to be sure that they will be able to give it a 100% of their time and attention, and to network as much as possible. It is a very small community and connections mean everything when it comes to getting a position, especially when you don’t have experience in the beginning of your career.

7. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

I like to watch movies, play tennis (played since I was 6 and at the intercollegiate level) spend time with my close friends, and travel if I can make time.

8. What is one of your favorite memories from your time here at WCUI?

Showing up to my job interview for admissions wearing jeans! That is the only time I have ever done that, and I think maybe it was because I didn’t expect to work there due to the commute, but luckily Rebecca (the admissions director then) accepted me and I loved our school ever since.

9. How would your past instructors or coworkers describe you? 

Loyal, hard working, dependable, caring, and a great team player.

10. What is something unique about you?

I was the only male student back then to get the allied healthcare professionals scholarship. I am also proud to have been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA considering how busy I was.

11. What is one of the hardest things about your job/externship?

The variety of things I have to do at work. Other than echoes I also do vascular, research, set up and interpret the Holter monitor (Ambulatory ECG Monitor) results for our physicians, and many other daily duties, so it could get very busy and stressful to manage all of these things.

12. What goals do you have for yourself in the field of ultrasound?

I want to go back to school for Abdomen/Diagnostic Medical Sonography, then after that also the Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease Certificate.

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