We believe the biggest single factor in increasing detection rates is sonographer training. So the point of our training services is simple – to give health professionals the confidence, knowledge and skills to better spot heart defects during pregnancy screening.
We know it works – after we trained throughout Wales, detection rates climbed above 50%, the highest in the UK. So our mission is to train as many sonographers as possible, as regularly as possible.
“The Tiny Tickers team explored scanning techniques and instilled confidence, and we swiftly accomplished our goal with minimum disruption to our normal scanning schedule.”
Judith Cuthbert and Alison Blackman, Team Lead and Deputy Sonographers, Royal Bolton Hospital, January 2016
“Tiny Tickers provided cardiac screening training for myself and my colleagues at City Hospital in Birmingham. I can’t praise enough the way in which we were taught and the in-depth information provided. The training far exceeded my expectations and I now feel equipped and ready to put it in to practice. “
Esme Burton, Sonographer, Birmingham City Hospital, October 2016
What we do
Our training services have three main strands:
- Practical training – Aimed at anyone scanning the fetal heart, our experts coming to your unit, training around 4-6 delegates each day, on the machines you use day-in, day-out.
- Theory conferences – Part of our regional training projects and delivered jointly with leading fetal cardiology experts, our conferences cover the scanning planes of the fetal heart and cardiac abnormalities, as well as sessions hearing from patients and other relevant organisations.
- Online resource centre – Available for free to our professional members and constantly growing to include training materials and videos, details of theory and practical training opportunities, research articles, statistics and links. To become a member, click here.
Our training aims to improve the prenatal detection of congenital heart defects using obstetric ultrasound at the routine ‘20 week’ fetal anomaly scan.
We’ve trained sonographers to use the five views of the fetal heart for many years, and have lobbied for the three vessel and trachea (3VT) to be adopted into FASP’s fetal cardiac protocol, which we are delighted has now occurred.
So, our training covers all five views:
- Abdominal situs
- Four chambers
- Aorta / left outflow tract
- Pulmonary / right outflow tract
- Three vessel and trachea
Because our training is hands-on, using the machines sonographers work on daily, as well as teaching how to achieve each view, we are able to help delegates with their hand-eye co-ordination, pattern-matching and 3D visualisation.
Our practical training is aimed at departments, not individuals. We recommend training a small group of 4-6 delegates per day, so for larger departments our trainers will stay with you for a few days.
Our approach to charging is straightforward and transparent – training is one of our main charitable activities and we want to make it as accessible as possible. For large projects (see regional training projects, below) we’ll aim to work with funders so training can be offered free of charge. For training in an individual unit, we seek only to cover our costs and will work with units who have restricted budgets to make sure our training is accessible.
If you are interesting in booking training or finding out further details, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Staff found the level of training excellent. The trainer was able to share her experience and knowledge at a level which we found easy to understand. She helped us gain confidence in our ability to reproduce the correct view of the heart. Excellent training.”
Superintendent sonographer in Wales
Regional training projects
Our regional training programme aims to offer theory and practical training to a large number of sonographers – completely free of charge.
The pilot for this new model has been a partnership with the Leeds Congenital Hearts service to offer training to more than 200 sonographers across the Yorkshire, Humber and North Lincolnshire region. Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Sovereign Healthcare Charitable Trust, we were able to launch this scheme during 2015.
As well as offering our usual expert hands-on practical training in each unit, this scheme saw us deliver theory conferences with expert speakers covering topics including:
- The importance of early antenatal diagnosis and referral
- Scanning plans of the fetal heart
- Structural abnormalities
- Rhythm abnormalities
- The parent perspective
- Delivering difficult news during an ultrasound scan (in conjunction with ARC, the Antenatal Results and Choices charity)
Our ambition is to offer similar programmes across the UK – so look out for us coming to your region. To find out more, contact email@example.com.