The professional duties of the ultrasound technologist in 2017 will expand as the healthcare industry continues to go through a transformation to become more inclusive and less invasive. It takes more than learning science and use of the sonography machine to be a successful sonographer. It also requires a type of personality. There are a number of personality inventories available to help people determine if their personality and a healthcare career is a good fit.
First Step: Self-Assessing the Personality
One of the most popular personality inventories used today is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and it provides a good example of the methods and goals of personality inventories. They are not tests and should not be viewed as such. The personal inventories, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, are psychometric questionnaires designed to help people better understand their personalities and how they interact with other people in their lives. It basically breaks preferences in four areas:
- Where attention is focused – internal (introversion) or external world (extroversion)
- How information is assimilated – in sequential manner while relying on experience (sensing) or focusing on possibilities (intuition )
- How decisions are made based on that information –objectively (thinking) or empathetically (feeling)
- How the world is dealt with – decisive attitude with purposeful, planned approach (judging) or spontaneous approach marked by adaptability and flexibility (perception)
Second Step: Understand Job Requirements of the Ultrasound Technologist
The work environment of the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is marked by characteristics like the following:
- Variety (extrovert)
- Produces results in a short period of time (extrovert)
- Has many people around at all times (extrovert)
- Requires good communication skills (extrovert)
- Has established methods of operation (sensing and judging)
- Requires ultrasound technologist to perfect skills like ultrasound report writing(sensing)
- Demands precise work and no factual errors(sensing)
- Depends on conclusions reached by relying on established steps (sensing, introvert, judging)
- Requires people who do not readily show emotion in front of patients (thinking) but are aware of other people’s feelings (extrovert and feeling)
- Requires a people orientation (feeling) and the ability to respond analytically to other people’s thoughts (thinking)
In other words, the work environment is complex, and people with a particular mix of personality traits suitable for this type of environment are more likely to find career satisfaction.
Third Step: Determine if There is a Match
Personality inventories are highly useful for career planning and can help people identify whether they have the right kind of personality to work in a healthcare field like Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Continuing to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as an example, completing the personality inventory would reveal important information like the following:
- Score indicating a person is extraverted means the action-oriented, people- filled work environment will be most appealing
- Score indicating the sensing preference is strong means the person will pay attention to details in the work environment, relying on learned skills like those mastered in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography training program
- Scoring as a feeling person indicates a person will focus on the needs of people and human values and wants to care for others
- The last category of judging-perception is murkier because both types of personalities want to provide services to others to help people meet their needs.
The personality test can also help students determine if they will make good sonography students. Those who like detail, learning procedures, and are able to manage stressful situation will likely do well in the science and math classes, master the sonography machine, and be able to manage the stress of the sonography program.
Fourth Step: Know the Facts About the Sonography Career
People get the wrong ideas at times. For example, some people get the idea that all the ultrasound technologist does is assist pregnant women and take “cute baby pictures.” That is not true. They may think that there is never a need to deal with bodily fluids, and that is incorrect. When relying on wrong information about the working environment or job duties, it is easy to make an incorrect match between a particular personality and a career as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer.
A prerequisite for a sonography student is to make a career decision based on the facts. There are personalities that are more suitable than others for a career as an ultrasound technologist. Choosing a career is a major decision requiring a commitment of time, effort and money. The personality inventory is one more tool for confirming that Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the right decision.