As a cardiac sonographer, Christine Dixon has experience in helping to heal broken hearts at Nash UNC Health Care.
She sees patients of all ages throughout the hospital and her work offers important information to doctors assessing the cause of a variety of cardiac issues patients may have.
“Hospital staff will order sonograms for people with chest pain, suspected fluid around the heart, shortness of breath, suspected infections — it’s a long list of reasons someone may have a sonogram of their heart done,” Dixon said.
Dixon, who has been repeatedly recognized for her positive interactions with patients, said she loves her relationships with patients and says she tries to offer a patient more than just a sonogram.
“I think a friendly smile and offering patients a time to take a deep breath and help them not be scared is an important part of how I spend my limited amount of time with each patient,” Dixon said.
She said many patients are uncomfortable, worried and anxious.
Her solution: Treat them how she’d like to be treated in their shoes or how she’d like her family to be treated in a similar situation.
“In general, I try to be comforting and positive. I think helping them get their questions answered is important.
Sometimes many people’s fears can be reduced if they just have more information, so I try to answer their questions or find someone who can,” she said.
Dixon said she’s also careful to explain the non-invasive procedure she’s doing.
“A good way to explain it is to remind them a sonogram is like what mothers have done to look at their baby — and that this sonogram is looking at their heart instead. Most people understand the procedure when I say it like that,” she said.
“The main thing I want them to know is that it won’t hurt and is rarely uncomfortable. Explaining things step-by-step usually makes them comfortable with the procedure.”
Dixon grew up in Rocky Mount and her father worked at the hospital when she was growing up.
She said she’s always known she wanted a job where she interacted with people — not just sitting at a desk.
“My favorite part of my job is the interaction I get with the patients and working on a team that’s making them healthier. But also taking that short period of time with them and offering friendship, comfort or just quiet company. I especially like having the opportunity for that kind of interaction with people.”
Other hospital staffers notice Dixon’s dedication to her job, and she recently was acknowledged for going above the call of duty. A patient needed an echocardiogram done on a procedure table. Christine’s colleague explained, “It was past Christine’s work hour and she was already on her way home, but Dr. Zhou needed it done. We called her on her (pager) and she came back and did it with a smile. She is an example of a dedicated team member who is willing to help her team and most of all our patients. KUDOS to you Miss Christine!”
Dixon said she works with a team of four ECO technologists and one PRN and insists they all do their best to offer information to aid in top-notch care for patients — and to offer comfort and empathy. The team has an office for outpatient appointments, as well as serves patients throughout the hospital.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Dixon said.