A Day in the Life of a Sonographer
So you’re thinking about becoming a sonographer – but first you want to know what the job is like. As a sonographer you will be responsible for conducting ultrasound scans on patients with many different types of medical issues and afflictions, as well as pregnant woman who want to see how their pregnancy is progressing. In an average day you may perform 15-20 ultrasounds, depending on scheduling and emergency situations.
Generally sonographers work at hospitals or health centers, and start at around 7 am. Upon arriving at work you will pick up your charts for the day, which will outline your patient’s medical history, as well as the area your ultrasound will focus on. Then you will need to ensure that your equipment is calibrated and working properly before you go and get your first patient.
When you meet with the patient you will take a few minutes to discuss the procedure, which is totally non-invasive and safe. The patient will have already changed into a gown, and you will have sheets to give the person privacy while you expose the part of the anatomy that you will be scanning.
While scanning, it is usually a good idea to keep open communication with the patient to let them know what you are doing. You can point out certain areas of the anatomy as you scan them, but you are not permitted to give any indication of their condition. This is left up to the radiologist or physician in charge. You will take snapshots and measurements of the areas you need to, and give them to the supervising physician before you move on to the next patient.
A large portion of your time will be spent scanning pregnant women. These women will be in various stages of their pregnancy, and for many it will be their first glimpse of their baby. As a sonographer, you can reassure them and show them parts of the baby on the monitor – like the feet, face, heart, and hands.
During the fetal sonogram you will take pictures of the baby to show development. You will take measurements of the head, leg bones, and other parts to confirm the gestational age of the fetus. You can also take and print shots for the new mom and dad to take home. You can also let them hear the heartbeat, and take blood flow measurements.
On the patient’s chart you will make note of any observations you may have had during the exam, and then you will pass everything to the physician, who will discuss any diagnosis and treatment directly with the patient, or pass the file onto a specialist. At no time are you allowed to discuss this type of information with the patient, although you can point out parts of the anatomy as you go along.
Some sonographers are also trained in the use of three-dimensional ultrasounds, which can help provide more detailed scans. Additionally, if you work in a hospital you may be called on to complete emergency ultrasounds for people who are in a critical care environment.
Sonography is a challenging, fast-paced environment that provides a great career for people who like to work with other people. Every day provides a new opportunity to learn and interact with others, and the pay is good too! With some training you can soon be a qualified sonographer and have a great career helping people every single day. Don’t let a great opportunity pass you by – find out how you can become a sonographer and get started on the road to a fabulous career.