Ultrasound programs develop a set of goals and objectives that give students an excellent overview. They are not exactly the same from program to program. Each sonography program creates a unique set of written goals reflecting the school’s culture, primary interests and/or education philosophy. People considering sonography can browse the specific program goals and interests to get a good understanding of what the sonography program believes is important.
Ultrasound Program Goals Focus Attention on Expectations
Ultrasound programs establish goals to clearly define the purpose of the educational experience. Though there are overriding general goals that all CAAHEP accredited programs create, there are also goals that are unique to the specific Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.
The general goals include statements like, “Deliver a high-quality educational experience,” or “prepare the student to work in the field of ultrasound technology.” Every CAAHEP accredited sonography program takes pride in its quality of instruction, having rigorously strived to meet accreditation quality standards. However, no two ultrasound programs are identical in terms of the curriculum, teaching methods, clinical training requirements and so on.
Find your local ultrasound program through the following table:
When researching schools with sonography programs, read through the goals first when they are posted online (which most are today), or included in program brochures or course catalogs. This gives the student an excellent birds-eye view of what a student will have accomplished once the program requirements are met.
Example of Degree Program Goals
Look through the list of accredited ultrasound programs in California, and select one offering a degree program in sonography. For example, Mt. San Jacinto College in Menifee, CA has a CAAHEP accredited sonography program leading to an associate degree. Program goals are not always called ‘goals.’ In this case they are under ‘Learning Outcomes.’ The student completing this program will:
- Be prepared to take the ARDMS Ultrasound Physics and Instrumentation exam upon graduation
- Have to work at least a year as an ultrasound technologist to qualify to sit the ARDMS exams for OB/GYN and Abdomen and Small Parts (means the program’s clinical training does not include these areas)
- Know how to manipulate equipment instrumentation to get the best images possible
- Know how to properly document sonograms of the abdomen, female reproduction systems, fetuses and small parts
- Understand how to effectively communicate with coworkers, supervisors, patients and physicians
- Understand and know how to implement HIPAA laws for patients
- Understand and know how to act ethically and professionally
After locating program goals, it is possible to compare ultrasound programs. To ensure the comparison is reasonable, compare programs based on degrees offered. For example, Mt. San Jacinto College and Austin Community College offer Associate Degrees in Diagnostic Medical Sonography with a general concentration. The accredited ultrasound programs can be compared if they lead to the same degree.
Example of Certificate Program Goals
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN lists all of the goals and objectives online for its Diagnostic Medical Sonography certificate program. Once students have completed the program, they will know how to:
- Get optimum diagnostic results by obtaining, reviewing and utilizing patient data
- Perform ultrasound procedures correctly
- Record physiologic and anatomic information for delivery to the physician
- Maintain sonographic equipment
- Assist physicians with performing invasive procedures requiring ultrasound guidance
- Effectively communicate with patients, coworkers and other medical personnel
- Act professionally, ethically and legally
- Provide compassionate patient care
The overriding program goal is to graduate entry-level general sonographers who have mastered the mental, intellectual and physical requirements of ultrasound technology.
Prospective students will find ultrasound program goals that summarize what the student can expect to know by the end of the program. With so much information available, it can get a little confusing as to the best program to select. Reading through the goals is just one way, and just a first step, to begin narrowing the list of potential ultrasound programs.
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