When people start school they want to fit in from day one, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography students are no different. When the time comes to start the ultrasound program there is an air of excitement. It can be a bit overwhelming at first because an ultrasound technology program is immersive, meaning it requires sonography students to devote most of their time and attention to the program from the starting point until they graduate.
Being accepted in a CAAHEP accredited sonography program is a true achievement. It is a demanding program that requires students to master challenging material. For example, on the first day of the program the student begins learning sonography terminology which is like a whole new language. College students are expected to be mature, motivated and able to learn quickly. The difference between attending a college or university program versus high school is stark.
At the same time, there are many other things to learn beside the ultrasound program material, including campus building names and locations, school traditions, fellow student and faculty names, laboratory procedures, and much more. Maintaining equilibrium as a new sonography student is important.
Recognizing the Humanity
Following is a practical list of guidelines that recognizes the humanity of each student. Being determined to succeed is important, but it is not enough. People must develop an awareness of the behaviors that actively promote success and learn to recognize the emotions that influence behaviors. Humans get anxious, upset, stressed and impatient. They can also experience happiness, joy, enthusiasm, confidence and excitement.
- Set a comfortable learning pace right away because it is easy to get worn out early by trying too hard
- Recognize that new sonography students are not expected to know everything but are expected to graciously take advice
- Recognize that once a student is taught information, the student is expected to remember it
- Make an effort to meet fellow students early in the semester or quarter
- Be confident that the material will be mastered and the skills will be learned
- Enjoy the learning experience because this is the foundation for a great career
- Develop a personal method for handling stress and frustration on the spot for when things seem to go wrong or someone says something that seems unfairly critical or impolite
- Take time to enjoy the campus and avoid becoming a “sonography hermit” who only sees the inside of a classroom, laboratory, or clinical site
- Perform an analysis of personal strengths and then readily call upon them to make the early program days as easy as possible
- Meet everyone possible, including students, professors, program staff, counselors, financial aid personnel, and anyone else who can make the experience more successful
- Do not hesitate to admit when having trouble because everyone struggles with something whether it is a particular subject, the clinical experience, a certain scanning technique and so on
- Be prepared to maintain composure in front of patients, even when they have urinary accidents, get impatient, cannot follow instructions, start crying or do anything else that people with medical conditions are prone to do
- Study hard when studying; play hard when playing; relax completely when relaxing
- Congratulate yourself when things go right and do not beat yourself up when things go wrong
- Have a great time in college because there is no other experience like it
Embrace the Experience as a Sonography Student
In their anxiousness to do well from day one, new sonography students can easily forget to follow some basic guidelines that can help ease the stress of starting a higher education program. Some of the pointers may seem obvious, but each is important and worth remembering.
Take a deep breath, read through the list, and use it as a reminder that sonography students are every bit as much college students as the liberal arts majors or the education majors or the law students. On the first day of sonography class it is time to wholeheartedly embrace the experience and recognize that other sonography students are experiencing the same emotions. No one is ever alone.