Thursday, 21 October 2021
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Ultrasound training at Heartbeat International's 2021 Annual Conference Ultrasound training at Heartbeat International's 2021 Annual Conference Lisa Bourne/Heartbeat International

“Innovative,” “impactful” new approach to ultrasound training fosters effective service to women at risk for abortion

While there are various ultrasound trainings available for nurses and sonographers who work within the pregnancy help movement, Heartbeat International has championed a new form of training that connects the technical needs and the spiritual needs for those working in pregnancy help.

At its two main training venues this year, Heartbeat’s Medical Impact Team took on the challenge of finding an innovative way to provide key didactic training to nurses working in pregnancy help, while overcoming the challenges of gaining the number of training scans to achieve competency in hands-on skills. 

This new concept was introduced at the 50th Annual Heartbeat International Conference held in April and updated in July for the Pregnancy Help Institute

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First, students complete an online ultrasound training through Heartbeat International’s Academy which meets the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) guidelines for didactic training. Next, students come on-site to complete an in-person scan lab experience which provides the environment needed to complete the required scans on women. 

Ultrasound training at Heartbeat International's 2021
 Pregnancy Help Institute/Andrea Trudden 

Working with a “drills” model, nurses were able to focus on one element of the scan for a period of time. From there, they moved on to a new element of the scan until ultimately they could bring all pieces together. At the completion of the exam, each nurse was able to confidently obtain the necessary m-mode, measurements, longitudinal and transverse structures required.

“We introduced an innovative way to gain the key skills and scans for nurses to minister effectively through sonogram services to women at-risk for abortion,” said Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International. “We call it The LOVE Approach Method of scanning a Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound Exam for Pregnancy Centers.”  

The method incorporates the technical components of the exam while bringing the most essential images to the forefront of the exam. This teaching method provides the same information students would receive in other ultrasound trainings, just with a different focus.

"I was surprised how much I loved scanning,” a nurse who attended the 2021 Pregnancy Help Institute commented. “I'm now so excited to be in this role. It was impactful to me that we were encouraged to celebrate these children as we share the images with their mothers." 

By the end of the training with the new “drills” model, students left with an average number of 58 scans per student. 

“This innovative approach provides a powerful way to increase focused clinical skills development vital to our life-affirming mission and impact within our pregnancy help medical clinics,” said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International.

In addition to completing the scans, pregnancy help leaders work through the unique emotional aspects of working within the pregnancy help movement. 

Tweet This: Beyond required technical skills for ultrasound, it's important that nurses have a ministry mindset as they scan in a pregnancy help center

Healthcare professionals working at the pregnancy help medical clinics must be prepared for the weight of the work before them.

“We have to prepare our students for the good moments and the bad,” Brown said. “The reality is, some women will leave the pregnancy center after having an ultrasound and go complete the abortion. Sometimes, we are the only people to see the baby alive. That’s a heavy burden we carry with us.”

Healthcare professionals confer during ultrasound training
 at Heartbeat International's Pregnancy Help Institute /Andrea Trudden


The Heartbeat Team incorporated The L.O.V.E. Approach, a successful longtime core training resource for Heartbeat International, into the lessons. This listening technique has been used internationally by countless individuals working in pregnancy help for nearly 30 years, both person-to-person and online as well. 

The four steps comprising the L.O.V.E. acronym in the book’s title are L (Listen and Learn), O (Open Options), V (Vision and Value) and E (Extend and Empower). 

By combining the technical, the practical, and the spiritual elements into one pregnancy help medical training, nurses left the Pregnancy Help Institute fully equipped, qualified, and ready to scan within their center. 

“Beyond the technical skills required to complete a scan, it's important that nurses have a ministry mindset as they scan in a center,” said Brown. “Our scans introduce moms to babies and that is a great privilege."

Tweet This: Ultrasound scans performed in pregnancy help medical clinics introduce moms to their babies - a great privilege for those who perform them

Medical professionals in the ultrasound training enjoyed this innovative style to learn scanning. 

"This experience was the best training I've ever had,” stated nurse participant. “It started with the basics and was able to progress through the entire exam. The stations were a great way to learn."

The next training will take place in Tampa, FL., October 4-6, 2021. Heartbeat International will share more information on the upcoming training as it becomes available.

Editor’s note: Pregnancy Help News is managed by Heartbeat International.

Andrea Trudden

Andrea Trudden is the Director of Communications and Marketing for Heartbeat International. She is a pro-life writer with a passion for promoting the positive solutions pregnancy help organizations provide for the entire family.

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