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Graduate Success Spotlight on Mindy Stedman, RDCS

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 proud of?

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 echo program.

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 scanned/cared for?

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 WCUI?

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?

My nursing background helps because I understand how healthcare works. It has given me confidence.

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

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.

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