The profession of a diagnostic medical sonographer involves the use of direct high-frequency sound waves and other medical imaging innovations on an individual to monitor and diagnose medical conditions (Curry, 2015). They use various equipment used to produce these images known as sonograms. The career is much preferred since it involves non-invasive procedures and it is also quick. The occupation is encompassed in sonography. A diagnostic sonographer is accountable for carrying out diagnostic patient care services using equipment, they also operate tools and disseminates results during after the examinations.
The examinations encompassed in this profession include sonograms, ultrasounds, and echocardiogram (Hagen-Ansert, 2013). Using the images produced by the equipment, the sonographer views and interprets the picture to come up with an analysis and the way forward. There are various kinds of diagnostic medical sonographers, and they include obstetric sonographers, neuro-sonographers, gynecologic sonographers, abdominal sonographers, musculoskeletal sonographers and breast sonographers (Hagen-Ansert, 2013). Some of their activities involve reporting the findings to the physicians, preparing patients for procedures, ensuring that the patients understand the process, preparing, maintaining and using the imaging equipment efficiently and examining the images among others.
A sonographer is quite crucial in the medical field since various medical, practical practitioners rely on their findings (Curry, 2015). The career is quite flexible, and one can work in diverse organizations; hence a sonographer has to develop their professional capabilities and skills for them to work in a wide array of environments. Sonographers can work in both private and public sectors of the medical field. Sonography has been popularized due to its extensive use in obstetrics especially in determining a fetus’s gender. Statistics have reported that the demand for sonographers will increase by forty-five percent from 2012 to 2022 which is quite rapid than for the other medical occupations (Hagen-Ansert & Baker, 2007). Unlike other diagnostic methods, the diagnostic sonography does not involve the use of radiation, does not have harmful side effects and also predispose neither the patient nor the sonographer to complications due to prolonged exposure (McGregor, 2014).
The ultrasounds are also used in the detection of various abnormalities in the body such as cancer tumors and growths. Due to the multifaceted nature of the career, most individuals tend to specialize in a particular area of the body. They have the responsibility of working directly with clients, preserve patient records and maintenance of equipment (McGregor, 2014). They also prepare job programs, assess equipment procurement and managing the medical imaging department. The diagnostic medical sonography is a rapidly growing field which is attributed to the advances in technology.
The increasing demand for therapeutic and imaging in diagnostics makes the prospects of the career quite promising. Higher education is required, and individuals interested in the profession can train in different institutions such as universities, colleges, and hospitals. Training can also be done in the military or vocational institutions. Education in the colleges or universities is offered in both two-year and four-year programs. Most people prefer the two-year programs. Most institutions prefer individuals to have a background in science subjects and math. Prerequisites for the career include physiology, instrumentation, anatomy, histology, and other health courses. One also needs to obtain a sonography or Magnetic Imaging Resonance accreditation (Roll, Selhorst, & Evans, 2014). Either certification is acceptable in the current medical care setting. People eager to get certification should successfully pass and strive to develop necessary abilities enabling them to work in diverse areas of the health sectors. In fact obtaining an education in ultrasound and training are just the fundamental requirements that individuals seeking to venture into the profession should match (Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (U.S., 2012).
Most individuals enter the field of diagnostic medical sonography after the completion of a certification program which can last between one or two years. In this career, individuals are not limited to sonography only. Sonographers’ jobs require substantial grounds on theoretical, practical activities and training to be well qualified. Individuals willing to obtain an education in this field should have planned out their specific future careers in sonography (Roll, Selhorst, & Evans, 2014). Furthermore, the interested individuals should garner credible information on possible training and employment places. Students especially should find out locations and organizations where they can find employment opportunities and pursue the career successfully (McGregor, 2014).
Technology is also imperative for a diagnostic medical sonographer since they use sophisticated equipment in their activities. The individual should possess technical skills such as maintenance, usage, and troubleshooting of the machines (Roll et al., 2014). The sonographer must also learn to use a variety of equipment since they vary among different hospitals and institutions. The sonographers should also be trained in combating challenges that may arise, either patient or machine-related (Hagen-Ansert & Baker, 2007). They should also be prepared to develop critical thinking skills since the medical field is driven much by the level of decision making since you are dealing with life. Career opportunities in diagnostic sonography are increasing with advancement in technology as through research and communications; proposals are made to make more mobile tools making the sonographers more flexible hence making the more feasible (McGregor, 2014).
A diagnostic sonographer has various responsibilities depending on where they are situated in the health sector. These include: obtaining and recording patient history, maneuvering patients into suitable positions for the procedures, recording physiological, pathological and anatomical information for interpretation by physicians (McGregor, 2014). They also identify both normal and abnormal results. They are also tasked with medical assessment during examination and relaying sonograms analysis to physicians. The ordering of additional and further tests for the patient is also part of their job description.
Diagnostic sonographers should possess social savviness since they deal with many clients who act differently such as nervous patients. They should also possess interpersonal skills to handle the diverse patients ranging from men, women, kids and the elderly. They should have compassion since they may deal with varying levels of illnesses (McGregor, 2014). They should also be committed, consistent, discerning, attentive, steady, flexible, disciplined and adaptable to have a successful career (McGregor, 2014). Those are some of the traits that diagnostic sonographers should possess. The sonography career path has many pros, but in all this, there is a disadvantage.
The career is physically demanding which leads to cases of musculoskeletal pain due to the various activities and motions involved (Roll et al., 2014). Statistics and professionals state that the career’s outlook is excellent. It is ranked among the best jobs in healthcare, and also it is predicted that employment in this profession will increase. This can be attributed to the advance in imaging technologies which will be affordable and most medical institutions will result in the use of non-invasive diagnostic procedures (Hagen-Ansert & Baker, 2007). Some of the most areas proposed to grow more are the physician’s labs and offices. The career has a low unemployment according to statistics, about 4.2% (Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (U.S.), 2012). To join the profession, you have to have certification from institutions accredited by the ‘American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers’ (ARDMS) (Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (U.S.), 2012).
Certified diagnostic sonography personnel are expected to have the best opportunities for jobs. The chances increase when an individual is certified in various specialties. Sonographers are well paid, especially in the metropolitan cities. Most firms offer medical insurance cover, retirement plans, tuition, uniform allowances and parking benefits (McGregor, 2014). Other benefits enjoyed include sick leave and annual vacations.
The career is mostly hands-on, and individuals can fit in various areas of the healthcare system. Having researched much on this job coupled with my grades, I feel that my inclination to diagnostic imaging is continually increasing. To achieve a successful career in sonography, I will have to obtain higher education from a recognized university and then receive certification from accredited institutions. I will also ensure to specialize in various areas to exploit my career path.
Curry, R. A., & Tempkin, B. B. (2015). Sonography-E-Book: Introduction to Normal Structure and Function. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Hagen-Ansert, S. L. (2013). Textbook of Diagnostic Sonography-E-Book: 2-Volume Set. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Hagen-Ansert, S. L., & Baker, J. P. (2007). Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers: A History of the SDMS. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 23(4), 218-223. doi:10.1177/8756479307304229
McGregor, R. (2014). Introduction of a Sonographer Practitioner Role in the Australian Health Care System: Opportunities and Barriers.
Roll, S. C., Selhorst, L., & Evans, K. D. (2014). The contribution of positioning to work-related musculoskeletal discomfort in diagnostic medical sonographers. Work, 47(2), 253-260.
Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (U.S.). (2012). Journal of diagnostic medical sonography.^. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Pub.