Terrie Ciez was working in the Nuclear Medicine department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the late 1970s when a new Ultrasound machine was introduced.
"No one knew how to operate it, so I was asked if I wanted to learn this," she explained. "Since we were not experienced at performing these exams and real time did not exist – it was called B-Scan – I remember it taking me two to three hours to complete one exam, since we would go back and take more images to figure out what we were doing. Many nights, I did not leave the department until 7 or 8 p.m. after beginning the schedule at 7 a.m.
"I look back at those cases from the late '70s, and we were really good at correctly diagnosing the cases with the surgical findings! I use these cases in my classroom now to show the students how much easier it is today with real time imaging."
In 1980, Ciez was contacted to teach several introductory sonography courses at College of DuPage due to her background in teaching residents and physicians at Northwestern when they rotated through the Nuclear Medicine and Sonography departments.
But before coming to COD full-time, Ciez operated her own mobile ultrasound business in the Chicago area, serving an area that stretched from Gurnee to Laport, Ind. and as far west as Rockford.
"At the peak of my business, I had 18 employees with three full-time transcriptionist, three radiologists, two cardiologists, and 10 sonographers. We would travel with the equipment to clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers to provide the patient and referring physician with high-quality sonograms in the convenience of the physician's office," she said. "In peak months, we would perform 1,200 exams that ranged from abdominal, obstetrics, gynecology, cardiac and vascular procedures."
In 1997, Joanne Metler, coordinator of the Nuclear Medicine program at COD, asked Ciez to set up a Sonography certificate program at the college, which began in March 1999.
"I taught the classes as a part-time faculty member, Joanne did the administrative work, and Jeff Papp helped with the physics classes. In 2001, COD instituted a full-time faculty position for me as program coordinator. Since then, we have added an accredited six-month vascular program and we have begun our associate's degree Sonography program that includes both general and vascular Sonography, which is the first in the state of Illinois."
Ciez wants her students to take their new high-quality training and scanning skills and provide every patient they encounter with the best, detailed exam possible.
"As we all age, someday I will be one of their patients, and I know I will receive the best sonography procedure from them," she said.