By Sarah Bello, Marketing & Communication Specialist
Having become a mom as a high school student, Lacey Douglas has a unique perspective to share with expectant mothers who see her at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Douglas is the ultrasound technologist for the CMH Women’s Center, and her personal experiences as a young mom help put her patients at ease.
“When some of the younger patients or those whose pregnancy was unplanned see me, they are often anxious or nervous about their future,” Douglas says. “I always have a reassuring response that puts them a little more at ease. Their detour in life may be more adventurous, but they will get through this.”
Originally from Southern California, Douglas went to school to become a court reporter. She had grown up wanting to become a lawyer, ready to argue her way to the Supreme Court. When she became a mom at a young age, she didn’t know if college would even be in the cards. She recalls someone mentioning to her that she could still pursue it — so she did.
Just before she would have entered the court reporter program, her school discontinued it. She began preparing to transfer while finishing up her pre-requisites. When the director of the ultrasound program visited her math class, she says she found her calling.
“I just fell in love,” she says. “‘I could take a picture,’ I thought. It’s like it was meant to be.”
Douglas compares her job to that of a detective looking for something and then making a case, in her position, to the radiologist — still fulfilling a bit of her early desire to work in criminal justice.
In her daily work, she does all kinds of ultrasounds except those looking at the heart. Since she mainly works in the Women’s Center, her ultrasounds are focused on women’s health — the uterus, pregnancies, ovaries and breasts. Occasionally, she will rule out a blood clot or gallstones for pregnant patients.
Douglas was initially trained in cardiovascular technology and has also worked in interventional radiology. Because ultrasound doesn’t bring in a lot of revenue, she says in the past, her jobs were driven by the volume of patients seen. With CMH, there is more emphasis on the time spent with the individual patients.
“Here it’s all about Planetree, and you get to spend the time you need with the patient,” she says. “That’s why I love it here. Nobody’s going to fall through the cracks.”
Although she works primarily in the Women’s Center, she sees other patients in the Emergency Department when she’s on call. There is a little more variety in those ultrasounds, with some kidney stones or gallbladder cases.
“I love what I do. I love scanning and figuring out what’s wrong with people or what’s right with people,” she says. “It would be great if there was nothing wrong with them. I spend 30 minutes to an hour with them and get to know all kinds of stuff. I really enjoy the people aspect.”
Most of the time, Douglas says, she is a light for patients. There are occasional appointments that are challenging, when she finds and has to relay bad news. Being a part of someone’s worst day is really difficult, she says.
“You have to try to hold it together and be professional,” she explains. “They need a pillar and someone who’s confident with what’s going to happen next. I try to be someone strong standing beside them.”
Those moments are few and far between, and when they happen, her Women’s Center team does a good job of getting the caregivers together outside of work as friends, to allow time for closure and bonding.
When she isn’t working or on call, Douglas spends her time at the beach, hiking and exploring what the outdoors has to offer. She and her husband have been in Astoria for more than two years now, and they spend as much time as possible outside after experiencing the oppressive heat in Southern California. They also enjoy spending time with their kids and four grandchildren who live in California and Oregon. Eventually, Douglas hopes to retire here.
Media Contact: Nancee Long, 503-338-4504
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