After the admission prerequisites are completed, the program and financial aid applications accepted, and the books purchased, the first day of class eventually arrives for Diagnostic Medical Sonography students. The first day of class in a CAAHEP accredited sonography program represents a major step towards starting a rewarding and high paying career in the healthcare industry. Starting off the right way from day one is important and can make the college experience enjoyable rather than frustrating.
Become an Active Student
College programs are quite different from high school programs because students are now adults and expected to independently balance their schedules and complete the work required to succeed. Some students transition easily into the college environment, while others have difficulty adjusting to the heavy course and clinical training workload. Following are some tips for becoming an active student who embraces learning and progress.
- Sit in the front of the class to ensure every instructor word is heard and to feel participatory rather than isolated
- Never hesitate to ask questions or request clarification about terminology or course material
- Never skip class or clinical training sessions because that will jeopardize both learning and program performance
- Record lectures for playback later as needed
- Take plenty of notes to review while doing homework
- Make introductions with faculty to develop a working relationship from the first day of the program
- Maintain a positive attitude at all times and enjoy the experience
- Take time to stay organized and plan weekly for completing assignments, attending class and practicums, taking tests, etc.
- Take advantage of technology by using web resources for assignments and communicating with faculty and other students
A great way to learn terminology and application of sonography in the real world is to develop an immersive experience from day one. Reading professional journals dedicated to imaging and/or sonography, like “The Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography” published by SDMS or the “Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine” published by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, can be extremely helpful. The journal articles connect learning with applied imaging techniques and reinforce material learned in the classroom or during the clinical training experience.
Become a Supportive Sonography Student
No sonography student goes through a program alone. Students should support each other and learn from each other throughout the entire program. Following are some tips for enjoying the sonography program as a member of a focused student community.
- Form or join study groups, creating student bonds and strengthening the learning process
- Be willing to help other students succeed
- Network with fellow sonography students
- Be willing to volunteer to help as needed while in clinical training
- Participate in program events like new student orientations and social hours, and community volunteer activities
- Take advantage of relevant student groups or organizations which may exist at the college and program levels
- Join the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography as a student member
Become a Great Ultrasound Student
Students starting any of the CAAHEP accredited sonography degree programs should remember that they were selected by a faculty committee because they were seen as having enormous capability to succeed. The limited seat space in most programs means the committees can only accept top applications. If the faculty see the student as ideal, the student should have the same opinion.
Becoming a great student means:
- Being organized
- Studying in a way that is ideal for the student’s learning style which may mean studying away from home or the dorm room, turning off all unnecessary technology, using additional audio/visual materials to supplement textbooks and so on
- Always being self-disciplined
- Devoting as much time as necessary to learn textbook material and sonographic imaging procedures
- Being fully aware of the fact that sonographers must use their senses, intellectual abilities, mental abilities and physical capabilities to succeed; this is not a sit-and-learn program
Starting an ultrasound technician program the right way from day one is important. The program is intense, and falling behind is not an option. Be an active participant, network with faculty and students, and enjoy the educational experience. It is the only way to be a great student.