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Graduate Success Spotlight on Nassrin Bonyadloo

Nassrin Bonyadloo embodies the type of hard earned success that comes from a tireless work ethic and never-give-up attitude, and makes the work of educators like those at West Coast Ultrasound Institute so rewarding. Stories like hers serve as inspiration to us all to keep pressing forward with our goals even during the lows of repeated setbacks.

Having a background in campaign finance and politics, Nassrin had developed quite a knack for dealing with people and relying on her gift of gab, yet changes in the economy left her with the prospect of having to recreate herself through a change of careers, more education, or both. She took the advice of a friend and WCUI graduate who had achieved success in the medical imaging field, and chose to enroll in the Cardiovascular Sonography program at the Beverly Hills campus. Nassrin was doing well in her studies and was just learning to scan when she was hit with medical issues that left her hospitalized, and forced to withdraw from school. After three months, she re-enrolled in her echo classes and began attending classes full time while attending review and tutoring sessions, as well as open lab periods. Yet she found herself still reeling from lingering medical issues and unable to dedicate herself fully to her studies to the degree that she needed to be successful. On top of that, financial setbacks compounded her situation to the point that she was unable to finish the echo program, and left her at a point at which most others would have given up and moved on. 

But Nassrin is not like most others. Instead, she dug deep and found the inner strength to pick herself up and start the journey again. She took the time to let her body heal so that medical issues wouldn’t stand in her way, and repaired her finances enough so that she could re-enroll at WCUI with a fresh start in the Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound program. This time, nothing was stopping her, as she kept to a disciplined schedule of studying and scanning practice that led to a steady stream of good grades and a team of faculty cheerleaders that supported her every step of the way. 

Before she knew it, she was done with classes and embarked on the next leg of her journey in her externship at United Medical Imaging in Downey. On the first day, a steady stream of patients throughout the day left her feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, yet she quickly learned to stay composed in the face of pressure and to rely on the other technicians for support and valuable training. In a short time, she had learned to work with the different attitudes and preferences of the other techs, and won their trust enough to gain more responsibilities, like calling patients in addition to performing scans with minimal supervision. Nassrin kept up the positive momentum and continued to impress the staff by perfecting her technique, and passing her SPI board after the completion of her externship period. Her long road of setbacks and struggle came to a glorious end as the facility hired her, and even cleared out a storage closet so that she could have her own private exam room.

Nassrin has not looked back since, and for the past two years, has found joy in serving patients from all walks of life. Using the inspiration that she took from the clinicians that made her feel so welcomed and comforted during the time that she was hospitalized, she developed top notch patient care skills and a warm bedside manner that won her the highest ratings in customer surveys at her clinic. She takes pride in treating all of her patients with equal respect and empathy, and has learned how to comfort even the most frightened and upset patients, sometimes in the throes of emotional breakdowns, by offering caring words and her undivided, non-judgmental attention. Nassrin has also found a way to give back to WCUI by mentoring other student externs that pass through her facility. She has been overjoyed to learn of their subsequent hirings, and is proud to continue the cycle of education by passing on her own knowledge. In fact, she thinks that one day she may devote all of her time to teaching ultrasound as an instructor, but wants to master other skill sets such as OB before she embarks on that leg of her journey.

WCUI is proud of Nassrin and all of the grit and resolve she has shown in achieving her goals in the face of difficult circumstances, and hopes that she will inspire students who are frustrated and having doubts about their abilities. Keep going as Nassrin did, and eventually, even if it is not in the ideal, imagined time-frame, the success will come. See below for interview.

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

I have a background in campaign finance and politics. After the recession hit, I lost my job and had to get more education or change careers. I was referred to WCUI by a graduate and signed up for the echo program in 2010.

2. What have you accomplished in ultrasound since graduating from WCUI?

I was hired at my externship site, passed the SPI, have my own exam room, and help mentor WCUI extern students.

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

I dealt with medical issues that took me out of school for 3 months and left me hospitalized. I returned to school but was still sick while going to school seven days a week. I was officially in Dr. Nasir’s echo class, but also attending Dr. Lu’s class as well as weekend classes. I ended up failing echo B. I took more time off, repaired my finances, and restarted in the DMS program. My health got better, so that made me a better student.

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

Lab instructors like Cynthia, Linda, Don, Fahriba and my lead tech/supervisor Nashaba Butts. They were wonderful and supportive.

5. Tell me about some memorable patients that you have cared for.

Ultrasound is the hardest thing I've ever done. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Patients that have lost a wife or husband sometimes break down in my exam room. Patients cry and are scared and don’t know what is wrong with them. I feel like no one respects some of those patients so I treat them all with great respect and humanity.

6. What advice would you give a student who is just starting out in ultrasound school?

Take advantage of the knowledge that teachers have and make sure you realize the luxury of having open lab hours.

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

 I love nature. I also love to cook, hang out with my dogs, and meditate in Malibu at the beach. Also Seal beach is close by so I enjoy relaxing there.

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

 Dr Lu was so funny. His lectures with clinical images and the way he would describe the heart and put people on the spot and make funny comments would put students at ease and help them remember the lessons. He made difficult material fun and easier to digest.

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

 They would describe me as a hard worker who is persistent and spicy!

10. What makes you unique?

 Ask Linda Arnold (instructor and administrator). (Laughter)

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

 The amount of responsibility, the fact that your attention always has to be “on”, and the physically and mentally draining aspects of the job.

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

I would like to get into hospital work. I also plan to take the OB board exam. I could see myself becoming a department supervisor, or a lab instructor... maybe eventually I'll try ultrasound sales as well.

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