Students researching sonography programs for the first time will come across unfamiliar words. Every profession and industry has a unique language. It is important to get comfortable with the ultrasound terminology to make sure there is full understanding of the material being read. Words like ‘didactic’ and ‘multi-modality’ may not mean much to someone unfamiliar with college level or health services terms. Following is a list of common terms used in sonography student handbooks.
Words and Terms with Special Meaning
Understanding ultrasound terminology begins with understanding the various terms used for sonography, like ultrasonography, ultrasound and sonogram. Ultrasound Technician Center offers a full description of these terms through the link.
Following are some more common program-related ultrasound terms and acronyms found on sonography program websites and in ultrasound student handbooks.
ARDMS – The American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers is a nonprofit organization that gives exams and awards credentials in various Diagnostic Medical Sonography areas.
Assessment plan – The assessment plan contains the program goals and is used to analyze ultrasound student progress in various areas.
CAAHEP – The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs assesses various health services programs, including Diagnostic Medical Sonography Programs, and awards accreditation when the program meets strict quality standards.
Didactic – A term used for instruction delivered in a classroom or online. It refers to principles and theories courses.
DMS – This is the acronym for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
HIPAA – The federal Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act defines patient privacy standards.
Image – This is a term used to refer to sonograms or sonographic images. It is the visual image resulting from doing an ultrasound examination.
Laboratory versus clinical – Laboratory instruction refers to instructional lab classes attended at the school or an affiliated health facility lab, while clinical training is hands-on training at a medical center or affiliated health services facility that has an ultrasound department. Ultrasound clinical training is structured like a full-time job rather than a class.
Multi-modality – The term refers to the use of multiple methods for delivering educational material. The modalities include classroom lectures, textbooks, visual resources, web-based instruction and clinical training.
PDF – Some schools accept PDF (portable document format) application forms and documentation. The PDF is a particular file format that creates digital documents that look like printed documents.
Peer scanning – Sonography Students can volunteer to be scanned by fellow students as a way to practice scanning techniques.
Prerequisites – These are courses that must be completed before the sonography program starts. Some schools allow students to complete certain prerequisites during the first semester or quarter of the sonography program.
Psychomotor competency – A term that refers to cognitive (mental) and physical (movement) functioning. It is the term used to discuss required personal attributes and skills needed to become a sonographer.
SCANS Competencies – This is a set of competencies established by the U.S. Department of Labor that is called the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). They are the competencies a person needs to be a good sonographer and include factors like being able to interpret diagrams and charts.
Sequential – Sonography curriculum requires courses be taken in a pre-determined order.
These terms are not difficult to learn, and some are familiar. However, it is important to understand them within the context of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. During completion of the program, students will learn the ultrasound medical terminology, so they can communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Ultrasound Terminology: Say it with Feeling
Most student handbooks for sonography students frequently mention the importance of being an understanding and caring person. The following words are not sonography terms but are used to emphasize the importance of feelings and emotions in this profession, and the ability to be a caring person who has the highest behavioral standards.
Compassion – concern for how other people are suffering which serves as an impetus to help others
Social attributes – emotional stability and ability to develop sensitive and mature relationships with clients and other medical staff
Empathy – the ability to understand how someone is feeling emotionally, mentally and/or physically
Ethics – a moral philosophy that drives understanding of what is right or wrong
The Diagnostic Medical Sonography student handbooks give potential students an excellent idea of the basics of ultrasound program requirements. Read all the information, including the glossary, which will discuss topics like attendance, content of sonography courses, assessments and clinical training. Many of the handbooks are online, so begin by selecting schools of interest and searching for a sonography student handbook on the program website. It is time well spent.
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