Becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographers requires studying subjects ranging from sonography principles to physics and developing student technology skills (course list). A major component of sonography work involves using high-tech instrumentation and other computerized equipment and software. The CAAHEP accredited ultrasound technician programs are intense because there is much to learn and many clinical skills to master, all involving technology. To enjoy school and life, it is important to keep technology in perspective and learn to spend some time without it.
Technology from Morning to Night
Technology is found in all aspects of life today, no matter whether the person is a student, employee or staying connected with family and friends. For sonographers, being comfortable with using sophisticated technology is critical to success. Students spend a significant amount of time learning how to use ultrasound displays that may include conventional medical ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound and 3-D ultrasound. They also learn to use ultrasound machines the transducer, transducer with probe, notebook computers, medical picture archiving computer systems (PACS), medical software and other types of computerized equipment and software.
At home, the student uses computers for doing homework assignments and connecting with other students and faculty. This is in addition to using cell phones, laptops, tablet computers, email and social media to contact friends and family or to manage personal affairs. The sonography students discover there is very little time spent that does not involve technology. Though technology is important, students need to take time away from technology to avoid getting tech-fatigue from constant mental stimulation.
Over Stimulating the Brain
Researchers are studying the impact of mental over-stimulation on the ability to learn. A study at the University of Michigan found that people did better on learning tests after they took a nature walk as opposed to a walk in an urban area. Kansas State University researchers found that employees who continued to connect with co-workers after work via technology were creating stress and stopping the brain from getting much needed relaxation. The situation was made worse when emails or messages held negative content, raising stress levels even more.
Professor and psychologist Larry Rosen has studied the impact of technology on students and he found that the average medical student is only able to stay focused on a task for approximately three minutes. In his book “iDisorder” he claims that excessive use of technology like social media leads to a form of attention-deficit syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Learning to Unplug
Student-life and work-life balance are important. Sonography students must regularly use technology, but they also need to learn how to take a break from the constant use of technology. Following are some tips from the experts:
- Take some time each day to do something that does not require technology, like exercising, taking a walk or reading
- To avoid concentrating on things like personal text messages instead of the class lecture or task at hand, set aside time for ‘tech breaks’ which are periods of time during which personal technology-based tasks can be completed
- Pick one night or day a week during which technology is avoided completely, and turn off the smartphone and computer
- While enjoying personal time with family and friends, focus on them and not the cell phone calls and texts
- Avoid using technology at least two hours before bedtime to let the brain ‘turn off’ because research shows late night computer use is associated with sleep disorders
- Avoid doing several things at once, like trying to study while checking for emails, social media posts and texts at the same time
There are two basic principles to keep in mind. Social networking online does not replace socializing in person. Relaxing with technology is not the same as relaxing without technology. Technology is wonderful, but it should not become all-consuming. Diagnostic Medical Sonography students can learn to maintain balance in their lives while in school, and that lesson can then be carried into their work lives.