Jenni Sanderson, co-owner of the Australian Institute of Ultrasound’s ultrasound training facility was born in Melbourne into to a family of doctors where medicine was an everyday discussion in the household. Her father, Dr Nigel Rosen was a GP, while her uncle and grandfather were both Ophthalmologists. While she was still an infant, Jenni’s father took a brave step and moved the family to Echuca, country Victoria where she spent several years. At that time Echucha had a population of only 3000 people, and the local hospital was manned by GP’s.
Jenni’s most vivid memory from Echuca was of Dr Rosen’s answer machine. “Every night the surgery’s phone would redirect to our home, and I would hear the phone ring at all hours. The message on the machine would direct the caller to go straight to The Base Hospital in the event of an emergency. I would then quietly count the minutes until I would hear my father’s pager summon him to the hospital, followed by his footsteps as he tried crept out of the house to go to the hospital”.
Each morning Jenni would look forward breakfast because she would find out what the emergency had been during the night. She loved to hear her father talk about cases that went well and to hear how her father had saved lives. Sadly, from time to time the news would be far from happy. Jenni’s father was described by many as being exceptionally kind and caring, and she recalls how upset he would be if a patient died or had a less than optimal recovery. She found herself wishing that there was a magical way of being able to see inside the body of the patient to locate what was making them sick or to see where they were bleeding. Little did she know at that in time, Ultrasound would do just that!
Jenni’s love of medicine never left her but after a year 12 rotation to Germany she found a love of languages and history. This led to an initial career in teaching (primary and secondary) but by her mid 20’s Jenni started to think about a career in medicine again. Around this time a good friend suggested she trained as a sonographer and she enrolled at RMIT. Jenni’s placement for practical training was with Dr Simon Meagher who she describes as inspirational. To this day, Jenni attributes her high standards and need for precision in scanning to Dr Meagher who is renown not only for his rapport with patients but his ability to see even the smallest detail on an Ultrasound scan.
After moving to Sydney with her husband Kim’s work, Jenni joined the Sydney Ultrasound for Women and also became a Research Associate at the University of NSW, Faculty of Medicine. Here she researched a number of areas of interest including doppler.
While at the UNSW Jenni’s two-year-old son was rushed into emergency vomiting bile. Here an emergency department registrar used ultrasound to diagnose intussusception which became a light bulb moment for Jenni. “I suddenly saw that the use of ultrasound was almost endless and that it had so much potential in point of care medicine. I wanted to spread the word, but more than that, I wanted to utilise my experience in teaching with my clinical ultrasound skills to be the best educator I could be.”
Not long after, Jenni was introduced to Sue and Tony Davis, the founders of the AIU by mutual friends Rob and Margo Gill. Sue accredited Jenni as a trainer, and she would regularly fly to the Gold Coast as a clinical specialist for the AIU. In 2013 Jenni and Kim decided to move from Sydney to the Gold Coast so that Jenni could take a full-time position at the AIU. This led to Jenni and Kim buying the business to allow Sue and Tony to retire in 2014.
So what is Jenni’s vision for the future?
“The Australian Institute of Ultrasound will continue to be the leading ultrasound training school. To maintain our high standards, we employ highly experienced tutors and clinical specialists which ensures that our students benefit from deep learning. Our courses tend to be slightly longer than others but significantly deeper in content. My vision is that every point of care clinician has the skills to use ultrasound medicine at the point of care, but that doesn’t mean there is any less of a role for sonographers too.
The Australian Institute of Ultrasound, our courses are geared towards clinicians of all specialties and all levels from sonographers, physiotherapists and paramedics to nurses, doctors and surgeons. Our systematic approach to hands-on training and systemization of the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool contributes to making the whole AIU experience one to come back again for!”
Stay in touch with Jenni on LinkedIn