It is understandable that new sonography students feel excited when starting an ultrasound technology program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) as of 2017. The excitement should not be overshadowed by the importance of starting higher education with the correct mindset. Research has proven that attitude does impact future success. Students need a positive mindset and to take personal ownership of their success from day one.
Why Attitude Makes a Difference
The word “attitude” gets tossed about a lot, and that unfortunately tends to dilute its importance. Young people tweet terms like “tude” which actually includes any type of verbal and body language that conveys a negative attitude. An attitude is more than a way of thinking. It determines how a person perceives their environment and how others perceive the person.
A “tude” usually refers to a bad attitude and reflects a personal choice as a result of misguided an inner-dialogue. A sonography student who starts their sonographer education with a negative attitude likely has an internal voice that is saying things like:
- I am so bad at math that I will never get a “B” in the required algebra class
- It will be very difficult for me to manage the full schedule the sonography program requires
- I will be lucky to complete this program because it is so difficult
- As long as nothing else gets in my way, I should do fine
- High school was a breeze so the sonography program should be easy too
- I’ll wait until my first day of class to prepare for the educational process because the instructor will tell me everything I need to know
- I want to become a sonographer but am not sure I can pass all the classes
After graduating high school, most students have a few months to wait out before they can start taking program classes. Those months are the perfect time to work on attitude because college is not high school made larger and the faculty members are not surrogate parents.
College is often the first time that many students have been away from home. Students discover they do not have mom or dad making sure they get to class on time or that they are maintaining good grades. Suddenly, it seems as if adulthood is thrust on students so the right attitude really does matter.
The Right Professional Attitude
The Pew Research Center studies conducted a study on the attitudes of employed young adults aged 25 to 32 years old. Also called Millennials, they are now entrenched in the job market, many of them having incurred student debt. Pew researchers asked the professionals a number of questions concerning the value of earning a college degree. On every economic measure, the employed Millennials outperformed those who did not go to college, and those who earned a Bachelor’s degree fared the best. The attitude of the graduates concerning work was that the current position held was important to a current career or was a necessary stepping stone towards the desired career.
Developing the right attitude about attending college increases the chances of success while in college. Even if the first day of college is still weeks away, there is no time like the present to begin developing a professional attitude that will carry over from the sonography training program into the career of choice.
Following are some tips for getting into ultrasound technology school mode in the weeks leading up to the start of a program in one of the CAAHEP accredited sonography schools:
- Think like a person who is a highly-skilled medical professional. An employed sonographer regularly reads ultrasound news and stays current on healthcare industry news. Even if the terminology is unfamiliar, students should regularly read news about ultrasound research projects, sonography technological developments, and the state of the transforming healthcare industry. Reading the healthcare news is a good habit that should last an entire career.
- Visit the school before the sonography program starts. Get familiar with the campus with the attitude of an adult who has made a career choice. Find important areas like study halls, the library, computer rooms, labs, the career counseling center and faculty offices. Develop a high comfort level with the campus so the new environment does not provoke feelings of uncertainty or even fear, both emotions that encourage a negative attitude.
- Develop adult thinking habits. This means thinking in terms of personal responsibility for college success. Think through what it will take to succeed. Identify personal strengths and weaknesses. Develop a plan for overcoming the weaknesses. Those who tend to have a negative attitude can work on self-confidence and strategies for cultivating a positive attitude. Setting goals and identifying what will be achievements along the path to reaching goals will help students develop a positive attitude.
- Repeat affirmations each day to embed positive thoughts in the subconscious. “I will succeed and earn a sonography degree.” “I am a very capable person and will make an excellent sonographer.” “I will maintain a good attitude at all times.” Power words are found in affirmations – success, capable, good attitude and so on.
- Visualize success. Visualize the first day of class, meeting fellow sonography students and working in a medical setting during clinical training. Visualize adulthood and the responsibility that goes with it. Visualize being a student and the development of sonographic skills. Learn to concentrate on success, and it makes it much easier to stay focused on the program requirements.
- Develop a positive internal dialogue. Train the little voice inside to help the conscious thoughts remain positive.
These are just a few ways students can develop a positive attitude about the responsibilities of college.
Keep an Eye on the End Goal While Attending Sonography Schools
The end goal of attending any of the sonography schools is to earn a certificate, diploma or degree that qualifies the student to sit for ARDMS exams. Striving to reach the goal through best effort requires a good attitude and following tips for success that faculty and previous students have shared. Like any journey, a good attitude will make the trip a more pleasant one. Work on attitude before school starts, and it will come naturally once the sonography program is underway.