Charting the practical dimensions of understaffing from a managerial perspective: the everyday shape of the UK’s sonographer shortage

Waring, Lorelei, Miller, Paul K. ORCID logo ORCID: , Sloane, Charles ORCID logo ORCID: and Bolton, Gareth ORCID logo ORCID: (2018) Charting the practical dimensions of understaffing from a managerial perspective: the everyday shape of the UK’s sonographer shortage. Ultrasound, 26 (4). pp. 206-213.

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Introduction: Across the last two decades, ultrasound services in many healthcare sectors have become increasingly pressurised as a consequence of upsurging demand and difficulties in recruiting viable clinicians. Indeed by 2013, the UK government's Migration Advisory Committee had listed sonography as an official ‘shortage specialty’. Comparatively little research has to date, however, explored the impacts of this situation upon the departments themselves, and the individuals working therein. The core purpose of this study is, thus, to lend qualitative depth to current understandings of the frontline situation in the UK's ultrasound units, many of which are understaffed, from the perspective of their managers.

Methods: Using a thematic analysis informed by a Straussian model of Grounded Theory, N=20 extended accounts provided by ultrasound department leads in public (n=18) and private (n=2) units were explored.

Results: Four global themes emerged from the analysis of which the first two (the broadly sociological matters) are described in this paper. Theme 1 addresses how a lack of staff in the broader ultrasound economy has created a troublesome migratory system in contemporary UK ultrasound. Theme 2 addresses how this economy works chiefly to the advantage of the most junior and the most senior clinicians, often leaving mid-career professionals in the borderline impossible situation of having to concurrently occupy both junior and senior roles.

Conclusions: The findings ideally open up debate on some key practical contingencies of the UK’s sonographer shortage, and reflect upon literature regarding the nuanced aspects of a shifting healthcare workplace constitution.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Ultrasound
Publisher: SAGE Publications for British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS)
ISSN: 1743-1344
Departments: Academic Departments > Medical & Sport Sciences (MSS) > Sports and Physical Activity
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 10:17
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 20:45


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