Healthcare Science Week | My journey into echocardiography

Published 12/03/2024

Ms Harpreet Kaur Sahemey, Senior Specialist Echocardiographer, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, shares her experience from starting out to national influence.

People say “Enjoy your job and what you do, because you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life - or there abouts!”. So choosing a profession that I was interested in and more importantly, love, was the biggest decision I’ve ever made to date. It all started with accompanying my frail grandfather for his yearly echocardiograms. I was fascinated by all the bright colours and images on the screen and how much information could be obtained from an ultrasound scan. It was from there that I pursued my career in echocardiography. I completed a Masters degree in echocardiography and began my hunt for training posts. I was lucky enough to join Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and have been in my post ever since. I was encouraged and supported by my senior colleagues and management to obtain BSE TTE accreditation and managed to achieve this within my first year.

Fast forward to now and I am a senior examiner for the BSE and viva case (practical station 3) national lead. I have a sub-speciality in congenital heart disease and am part of the writing group and examiner for the congenital BSE accreditation.

Seeing progression in people who are learning echo is the most rewarding part of my job. I have been there first-hand as a student so I know what it feels like. Whilst I was training, I remember it can be disheartening when you feel that you are not making any progress, so being a mentor to junior staff and cardiology registrars learning echo gives me a lot of job satisfaction. I try to support them as much as I can, especially by being a senior BSE examiner. I try to advocate something my dad used to say to me, “Aim for the moon, then you’ll end up in the stars.” I was very lucky to have had that support when I trained, so I try to maintain and uphold this daily.

I may have some achievements under my belt, but it came with a lot of hard work, sweat and definitely tears. I’d like to think of myself as a positive role model especially to my junior colleagues and for anyone who wants to progress further. Representation is really important to encourage new echocardiographers into our profession - because if this Indian Essex girl can do it, you definitely can!