Anyone considering a career as a sonographer needs to fully understand what the job entails. The following questions can serve as a beginning guide for evaluating whether Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a good career choice in view of personal characteristics. Each question is designed to measure the depth of understanding of the ultrasound technician’s work requirements.
Q1: Earning a certificate or degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography through completion of a CAAHEP accredited program is critical. Which learning style do I prefer:
- a. Coursework only because instructor-led learning is ideal
- b. Mostly hands-on lab work and clinical training
- c. A combination of coursework and clinical training
Q2: If physical contact with other people is necessary, I would:
- a. Prefer operating ultrasound equipment and reading images, while letting someone else handle patient interviews and preparations
- b. Enjoy working with people and look forward to meeting and helping a variety of patients
- c. Do what is necessary but not find physical contact particularly enjoyable
Q3: My preferred communication skills are:
- a. Written communication
- b. Verbal communication
- c. Either because comfortable with both
Q4: The importance of learning and keeping pace with health care technology is described in one of the following ways:
- a. After patient care, getting to use advanced technology is one of the primary reasons for considering a career in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
- b. Technology is personally challenging to master but only need to complete the educational program once so am not worried about it
- c. Trying to keep up with changes in technology is only frustrating because it seems like computerized equipment and tools, and software, are constantly changing
Q5: Taking instructions from a variety of people is required in some jobs. For sonographers, the general rule of thumb is:
- a. Only a doctor gives sonographers instructions so not concerned about interacting with other people
- b. Willing to accept relevant instructions from many different people in the workplace, including supervisors, patients, physicians, peers, administrators, and others
- c. Unwilling to accept instructions from people who are not at least as well-trained as the sonographer and who only have official authority
Q6: Attitudes about potential exposure to sickness and disease can vary widely.
- a. Other medical personnel would never bring patients to the ultrasound technology department if there is a risk of exposure to disease
- b. Ultrasound technologists mostly take images of fetuses so there is seldom any disease exposure
- c. Sonographers work with a variety of people in all stages of sickness and disease, but learning proper safety procedures will limit exposure
Q7: Some jobs require dealing with details and producing highly accurate results. The perception of a sonography career is that:
- a. Sonographers routinely read images, equipment screens, and patient files with great care
- b. Being detail-oriented is not required because equipment automatically records results
- c. All images taken are retained so close scrutiny of images is not necessary since the physician will sort through the results
Q8: Throughout the day, a sonographer:
- a. Makes many decisions ranging from positioning the patient on the testing table to deciding if additional images are needed
- b. Relies on the fact the doctor is always available so all the sonographer has to do is take images and the job is done
- c. Does not have to decide if equipment is working properly because maintenance people handle that responsibility
Q9: Sonographers can work in a variety of health care facilities and:
- a. Never have to work emergencies because patients are always scheduled in advance
- b. Seldom have to work swing shifts because ultrasound technology departments are only open during the day
- c. May have to work swing shifts and be on call at least one week a month
Q10: The physical labor requirements demanded of a sonographer include:
- a. Very light duty because all patient transport equipment is designed today to eliminate the need for lifting patients
- b. Lifting or shifting 50 pounds or more and pushing 500 pounds of equipment at any moment
- c. Making sure there are medical facility staff on hand who are responsible for doing all the lifting and pushing
- A1: c (Every CAAHEP accredited sonography program requires completing both coursework and clinical training.)
- A2: b (Sonographers conduct patient interviews, prepare people for exams, assist with transferring people to ultrasound tables, clean patient skin, and much more.)
- A3: c (nographers convey information in numerous ways, including maintaining patient records, inputting information into software systems, documenting imaging results, discussing testing results with doctors, and conveying relevant information to other medical personnel like nurses and aides. It is also important to be a good listener.)
- A4: a (Technology plays a big role in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography occupation. Most of the tools and equipment are computerized or digital, and upgrades are common. Sonographers use ultrasound monitors and video equipment, high frequency transducers, data base software, electronic patient health records systems, and much more. Sonographers must be willing to continually learn state-of-the-art technology and attend continuing education workshops and classes.)
- A5: b (Ultrasound technicians usually work in very busy hospital or clinic settings. They take instructions from a variety of people. Patients let sonographers know when they need to be repositioned because of pain. Doctors request very specific ultrasound images. Nurses, aides, orderlies, radiologists, supervisors, administrators, medical department personnel, ultrasound equipment maintenance technicians, and a host of other people will give sonographers instructions throughout the day. Instructions should not be confused with orders. Sonographers exercise a high degree of professional independence in fulfilling work requirements.)
- A6: c (Sonographers do work with people who may be contagious or diseased. However, CAAHEP accredited Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs include instruction in safety procedures.)
- A7: a (Sonographers must deal with many details from recording accurate patient interview responses to documenting imaging results and analysis. Ultrasound technicians must read high amounts of detail on imaging screens and use the information to determine what images are needed. The entire job is detail-oriented to achieve accuracy.)
- A8: a (Sonographers must make numerous and important decisions throughout the workday. The decisions impact patient scheduling, number and type of images needed, image details to point out to physicians, and so on.)
- A9: c (Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, like nurses, work all shifts and are usually expected to be on call a certain number of days each month. They also do get called to assist with emergency situations.)
- A10: b (A typical shift requires an ultrasound technician to push and pull stretchers and wheel chairs holding patients, and to move medical equipment. Sonographers must help patients, some of whom are quite heavy, on and off the testing table and with body positioning. They are on their feet most of the work shift and do a lot of bending and stooping. The entire body is used, including the shoulders, wrists, hands, back, and legs.)
Get 9 to 10 correct answers: Diagnostic Medical Sonography is likely an excellent career choice! Use the following resources to learn more about this field.
Get 6 to 8 correct answers: Diagnostic Medical Sonography may be a good career choice for you. Before you go any further, you will need to do some more research. Start by reading the following articles.
Get 4 to 5 correct answers: Re-evaluate the match of personal characteristics and job requirements.
Get 2 to 3 correct answers: Sonography may not be your right career choice. If you still want to become a sonographer, you will have to do more research about it.
Get 0 to 1 correct answer: Sonography may not be your right career choice. If you still want to become a sonographer, you will have to do more research about it.
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