Sonography is not just ‘taking pictures of babies’. Every time I touch an ultrasound probe to human skin, I am able to help create the road map to that patient’s ultimate diagnosis. Sometimes that is a “normal” diagnosis, and sometimes it is a possible “pathological” diagnosis. The reward for me is learning each time what that image’s story tells.
As my career has grown beyond holding that ultrasound probe to educating others to do the same, to designing educational curriculum and providing consulting services in other medical fields, my drive to continue to learn more about Sonography never leaves me.
Understanding that my small role as a Sonographer plays a part in the quality of life for others means so much!
What does a sonographer do?
A diagnostic medical sonographer or ultrasound technologist is a skilled professional who uses ultrasound equipment to obtain images inside the human body for physicians and radiologists to use in medical diagnosis. A sonographer’s typical responsibilities include:
- talking with patients to identify and clarify their symptoms and to keep them informed during the procedure
- setting up and adjusting the ultrasound equipment to ensure good quality and accurate diagnostic images are obtained
- using ultrasound equipment to perform the sonography procedure
- analyzing ultrasound images and assessing patient information
- documenting technical findings from each examination for the physician to use in medical diagnosis
- working with physicians and other health care providers
- continuous learning in the field of practice.
What are the career opportunities?
Ultrasound technology is used widely right around the world and the equipment itself is always evolving, making it more effective and able to be used for new applications. Sonograms are often preferred over invasive techniques and over imaging techniques that involve radiation in order to minimize patient risk, where possible, and also to save on costs.
Therefore the employment opportunities for qualified diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists, ultrasound technologists, and vascular technologists are forecast to continue growing in the future in both urban and rural areas. For example, in the USA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment will grow 26 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Sonographers can choose to work in a variety of clinical settings such as clinics, hospitals, private practice physician offices, public health facilities, and laboratories. As a sonographer gains more experience, they can take advantage of career opportunities in management, teaching, and research, while some sonographers may choose to move into medical device companies to take on a role such as application specialist, sales consultant, or technical advisor.
SIMTICS offers self-study resources for learning how to perform different types of ultrasound examinations through highly effective web-based simulations. The simulations can be incorporated into a school’s curriculum, and can also be used by individual learners to supplement their formal academic studies or to enable them to refresh their procedural skills online. For more information, check out the SIMTICS website.