The average day for an ultrasound tech is varied, fast paced and demanding. While it requires a certain amount of education and credentialing, there are plenty of other factors hospitals and clinics take into account when hiring a new employee.
In this article, you’ll get a glimpse into what a diagnostic medical sonographer does and what personal and professional attributes make someone more appealing to employers.
A Day in the Life
Ultrasound techs operate complex medical equipment that uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of a patient’s body. Recent advancements in this technology allows sonographers to view fetuses and internal organs with stunning clarity.
Ultrasound techs prepare patients for imaging and use the equipment to gather clear images physicians use to check the health of an infant or diagnose a variety of medical issues. This equipment is used for far more than the imaging of unborn children. Today, ultrasound imaging can help prevent heart attacks and aid in the early detection of various health issues. As an ultrasound tech, you’ll help save lives every day.
Most technicians choose a specialty from one of several areas.
- Obstetrics: imaging of fetus and womb
- Gynecology: focuses on the female reproductive system
- Breast: aids in breast health and early detection of cancer
- Echocardiography: Used to analyze heart health, muscle and blood flow
- Musculoskeletal: used to analyze muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints
The dynamic and growing profession provides great opportunities for those who graduate an acredited program and earn the proper credentialing through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. However, it takes more than technical skill and clinical experience.
Stamina: as an ultrasound tech, you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. Duties often require pushing equipment from room-to-room to take images of patients. Sometimes, the techs need to move or turn patients to perform procedures. Comfortable shoes and a willingness to stay active are prime traits that every hospital looks for.
Attention to detail: for the sake of every patient, you’ll need to provide physicians with the highest-quality images possible to ensure the patients are analyzed and diagnosed properly. They must also be able to spot even minute issues that could require the immediate notification of an emergency physician.
People skills: This is a prime skill for any ultrasound tech and one hospitals put a premium on. Techs work day in and day out with patients, some of whom are dealing with serious illness. Others are simply anxious and need a calming person around. Becoming a technician means keeping a level head, even when things get stressful. Every patient should be treated with respect and consideration.
Technical savvy: that machine sonographers push around is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, may even millions. Having an ability to work with and comprehend complex medical instruments is a crucial part of the job that will make life a lot easier. There are several brands of imaging equipment used at hospitals, and you’ll need to learn to use them all.
Other Factors and Considerations
The road to becoming an ultrasound technician requires a lot of hard work and personal fortitude. The coursework will be complex and challenging. In many programs, you’ll also be required to complete more than 900 hours of clinical experience in a hospital setting.
There are no easy roads to break into such a rewarding and meaningful profession. It’s crucial to pick the right school and remember there are no short cuts, or substitutions for hard work.