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.
“Thank you for the three training days you have given us and to all your trainers. The training has helped to consolidate our knowledge and skill and has been a great confidence booster for all our staff when examining the fetal heart.”
Jane Pennington, Princess Royal Telford Hospital, March 2018
“Overall the experience we have had with Tiny Tickers has been brilliant and all my staff have benefitted so much from your visits, thank you so much for coming to help us all.”
Carolyn Stabler, Worcestershire Hospital, January 2018
What we do
Our training services have three main strands:
- Practical training – We train up to 10 sonographers on a training day, usually five in the morning session and five in the afternoon session. We combine a theory presentation and practical hands-on training. We focus on normality but also cover the most common major cardiac abnormalities and how to recognise them. All of our trainers specialise in fetal echo and have many years of experience within midwife led units.
- Theory conferences – 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 – this area is constantly growing to include training materials and videos, details of theory and practical training opportunities, research articles, statistics and links.
- Live webinars – Condition specific webinars for health professionals.
We have recently had to make some adjustments to our training due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and current protocols. Following a break from providing on-site training at hospitals, we have now carried out the relevant risk assessments, and are pleased to be in a position to shortly resume face-to-face training while observing social distancing and complying with government guidelines. Appropriate arrangements have been made in order to facilitate this and to ensure the safety of the sonographers, volunteers and trainers.
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 recognition and 3D visualisation. We also take the opportunity to refresh our delegates on the embryological development and anatomy of the fetal heart.
We also cover topics such as:
- 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 practical training is aimed at departments, not individuals. We recommend training a small group of 10 delegates per day (five in the morning, and five in the afternoon), so for larger departments the training can occur over consecutive days.
Our approach to charging is straightforward and transparent – training is one of our main charitable activities, and thanks to the past support of funders such as the Royal London Foundation, Warburtons, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Sovereign Healthcare Charitable Trust, we have been able to make this service as accessible as possible. 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 interested in booking training or finding out further details, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.