The Ultrasound Technician, or Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, operates machinery called Sonographic Scanners which create images of the patient’s internal organs. Ultrasound Techs may work in physician’s offices, hospitals or clinics and weekend and night shifts may be required. The tech may specialize in different areas of the body, some may do obstetric sonography, breast sonography or vascular sonography. The U S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 46% job growth in this field in the next several years.
The Ultrasound Technician will perform general, obstetric and vascular ultrasound procedures. The procedures may be performed in the department, in the OR or at bedside. The Sonographer works closely with the radiologist and other members of the healthcare team presenting data and images for interpretation and help in any interventional procedures. The tech must demonstrate independent judgment when performing procedures and addressing other unusual or difficult situations. The Sonographer is responsible for evaluating the images for technical quality and will utilize PACS (picture archiving and communications system) with accuracy. The tech will also accept additional tasks and assignments as needed within the department. Sometimes may be required to provide on-call rotations coverage during nights and weekends.
Before the session begins the Ultrasound Tech will explain the procedure to the patient and then make adjustments to the program and adjust the scanner for the specific procedure. Decisions on which images (sonograms) to retain for the physician for diagnostic purposes are the responsibility of the Sonographer. Ultrasound Technicians may perform procedures on OB patients to look at developing fetuses, but these procedures are also used in the diagnosis of brain, breast, heart and abdominal sonography.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers require formal training, normally an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Sonography and certificate programs. Programs studied would include anatomy, physiology, physics, patient care, instrumentation and ethics.