Ada Guadron is a Lead Sonographer at Houston Medical Imaging
Working with the team at Houston Medical Imaging, I have come to realize that this is truly a unique group of individuals that have come together to make something great. Perfecting multiple operational facilities that deliver high quality patient care is a constant challenge for the team, considering the ever-changing healthcare industry, technological advancements and fulfilling patient needs.
When I look at all of the individuals here at HMI, I sometimes wonder how life has brought them to this organization and more importantly why they decided to focus on radiology as their career choice. Coming from a radiology background myself, I have an appreciation and clear concept of the schooling one most accomplish to attain national registry and certification but what amazes me is the personal journeys that we all take to arrive at our life dreams and goals.
Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ada Guadron, she is a lead sonographer at HMI Richmond location and has been an employee for 17 years. I quickly realized that she has a remarkable story, one of perseverance and inner strength to improve not only her life but that of her family as well. Ada was born in Mexico in a city called Matamoros. The city borders Brownsville, Texas and over the past several years, has become the 4th largest metropolitan border city with the USA with an estimated population of 520,000.
When Ada was 3 years old, her parents moved the family to Houston looking for an improved quality of life for their family, with better job opportunities and a goal of giving their children a strong education. Growing up as the eldest of 4 children, Ada’s parents relied on her to translate as they only spoke Spanish. From an early age she had a big responsibility with assisting her parents and siblings to adapt to a new culture, life and language. I asked Ada how she learned English, and she said mostly from watching television shows like Sesame street until she attended school. She also said that having a responsibility like translating for her parents pushed her to not be shy. She couldn’t be reserved or timid as her family was depending on her. Her parents worked hard to provide for the family, her father mowed lawns and her mother stayed home with the kids until they were old enough to go to school, at which time her mother was able to get a job at a department store. Ada said, “we grew up very poor, but my parents worked really hard to provide and we finally reached low-to-middle class living once both my parents could get jobs.”
It was obvious from our discussion that Ada felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when speaking about her parents and how they managed to succeed and provide a positive environment for them. After graduating high school, Ada knew that she wanted to continue her education, although she knew the road would be difficult and would require her to financially put herself through school. The challenge didn’t detour her and in many ways I believe her upbringing and the maturity that she gained from her childhood gave her the determination to make it happen.
Ada started smiling when she told me how she worked her way through technical school as a sales clerk selling western wear at Boot Town. “It’s crazy, but my parents made too much money for me to get financial aid, so for two years, I went to school from 8 am till 1 pm, then worked from 2 pm to 10 pm Monday through Friday and I also worked Saturdays. I did what I needed to pay the bills and graduate.”
When asked why she decided to study radiology, she explained that medicine had always interested her and she was planning on going to nursing school, however she became fascinated with ultrasound and the technology that allows us to view inside the body real-time.
She counts herself blessed that she has had two great mentors in her career. First, was Dr. Calderon who hired her straight-out of school, then once Dr. Stenoien purchased HMI, he worked closely with her and taught her a great deal about exams that were not taught in school. “I am very grateful that they took the time to work with me and help me be the sonographer that I am today. Our patients and their diagnosis are so important to Dr. Stenoien, it’s a huge responsibility that we all share being a part of the diagnosis process. I also attribute my success to my childhood and how I was raised, I had to step up and be confident, ask questions and learn.”
As mentioned, Ada has worked at HMI for 17 years. She has advanced within the company and manages a team of sonographers and is responsible for all training of new sonographers or training coworkers on new techniques etc.
When asked what she would consider the biggest change in healthcare since she graduated school, she said, “the turnaround time for patient reports have been drastically shortened as well as exam time. Technology has come such a long way, we used to have to process our imaging films in a dark room, everything was paper – nothing was digital. We sometimes forget how much technology has improved outcomes and diagnosis.” She laughed and told me a story about how when she first started in radiology and learning how to process radiology films in a dark room, she thought she knew how to do it, but accidently exposed boxes and boxes of new films, terribly embarrassing she remembers, but reminds her how much easier and quicker it is to get radiology images to the radiologist since everything is now digital. She described the ultrasound machines and the many advancements over the past several years. “We couldn’t let patients leave until we printed all the images to ensure that we captured everything.” Now we scan the patient and instantly the images are available for viewing.”
According to Ms. Guadron, one of the biggest misconceptions that patients have, is that the tech can describe and tell them what they see during the exam. This, however, is not the case, the Radiologist reads the images and sends a report to the referring physician. With the technology that HMI has invested in, patients and referring doctors have access to their images and reports in a very short amount of time.
Motivation for Ada comes from the opportunity of teaching other sonographers. “I love to see them grow in their career and with their goals. I used to be focused on trying to do everything myself but then I realized that I reached a point in my career where I felt like I had accomplished so much and had so much valuable information to share with others. I love to teach.”
I asked Ada if she could change something in healthcare, what would it be? She said healthcare can be so expensive for patients yet it’s so necessary. “I wish we could come up with a good solution to address this issue. At HMI, we try to provide low cost with financial options to patients who don’t have the financial resources or good insurance plans to cover their exams. I believe this helps our patients tremendously but wish we could as a nation come up with a better solution across the board.”
Ada’s kind personality reflects as she speaks about Houston medical imaging, the team she works with and the many patient’s she scans every day. She has a kind heart and its palpable. She said that “It is important for me to talk with my patients throughout the exam, most of the time they are nervous and certainly stressed so I try my best to make them feel at ease. I also try to stay on time to lessen their wait time, this helps with anxiety levels.”
Her daily philosophy is; “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You never know when you or a family member might be a patient. Have empathy for those around you, be kind and always smile.”
She is very proud of the great group of Radiologist that HMI has hired over the years. They are easy to approach and always willing to assist. When discussing imaging with patients they take their time and ensure that the patient understands and is comfortable with the exam. “They are all sub-specialty radiologist who care about their patients which makes all the techs feel very supported.”
When not at work, Ada is a busy mom of four children. They stay very active. Between school, swimming, camping and family time, she loves to bake and make desserts – this is her hobby and brings her joy.
HMI appreciates all of our technologist who work diligently to care for our patients and for Ada Guadron for sharing her story and being an incredible asset to the team.
For more information on Houston Medical Imaging and the services that we provide please visit our website.