Saving lives & helping to bring new life into being; A truly rewarding career
As an Ultrasound Technician, you are in the middle of what can be life changing situations with people. For example, if you are doing a routine pregnancy check up, and you see signs of irregularities or problems with the progress of the fetus, you've got to be very careful how you deal with the situation. Part of your ultrasound technician job description is dealing with people who are counting on you to guide them through these life changing situations. They need your complete professionalism and above all, they need your compassion and understanding.
Where do Ultrasound Technicians work?
Ultrasound Tech's work in a variety of settings from hospitals, diagnostic imaging centers, and physician offices. In addition, Ultrasound Tech's are needed to assist with surgeries or to perform routine pregnancy check-ups. While the tradional idea of an ultrasound technician job description is to be working in a pregnancy unit or a medial imaging lab, Ultrasound Tech's are also needed in emergency rooms to be available for imaging procedures of trauma patients who need immediate diagnoses and medical treatment.
What character traits are important for Ultrasound Technician jobs?
One common misconception about Ultrasound Tech's is that it is a simple, straightforward procedure in which you move a wand around the body and magically capture images. Many medical imaging professionals who have worked in various radiology and medical imaging procedures have indicated that ultrasound procedures can be much more complicated and take a highly developed understanding of anatomy.
You've got to be able to understand what you are looking at on the screen and how to navigate through around the inside of the body with using precision and instinct coupled with a high level of knowledge about the particular organ you are navigating. The word navigating comes up a lot with sonographers because it is just that in many cases. Navigating through a complex structure in order to get what you need so that the physician can diagnose the problem. You've got to be patient and be able to concentrate and have good hand eye coordination. All the while, you must be patient, calm, and professional with the patient.
Ultrasound technicians use high frequency sound waves to produce real-time visual images of organs, soft tissues, and blood flow within the body. Job duties include:
As a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, you may learn how to perform a variety of medical imaging tasks using sonography technology. Some specialize in one particular area such as obstetrics and work in the pregnancy division of the hospital, for example. Others perform multiple types of ultrasound duties such as abdominal, gynecologic, or vascular sonography. The following is a description of these various roles:
Abdominal Sonographers specialize in imaging the organs and tissues within the abdominal area such as the liver, pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, and kidneys. With the help of doppler sonography, they can also peer into the blood vessels as well. If, for example, a blood test shows high liver enzymes, a physician may order an ultrasound of the liver. The abdominal sonographer can clearly see a liver that has enlarged as well as other abnormalities such as a tumor. If there is suspicion of abnormalities in the abdominal area, a sonographer can get a very detailed view, which will help with diagnosis.
A cardiography is a sonogram of the heart, valve function, and blood flow. As technology improves, the use of 3D and 4D imagery is becoming more common. Cardiac ultrasound is the most widely used diagnostic test for heart disease. It can show the exact size and shape of the heart as well as the pumping capacity. It can also very precisely locate any damaged tissue or abnormal blood flow. For example, it can be used to determine if blood is flowing backwards into a heart valve that is not closing all the way. In addition, it can help detect coronary artery disease and to help figure out if chest pains are related to heart disease. Learn more about cardiovascular technologist schools and career options.
Obstetric & Gynecological Sonography
Obstetric Sonography focuses on the health and progress of a pregnancy. A Gynecological Sonographer uses sonographic imagery to obtain images of the female pelvic area including the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and bladder. Their primary concern is the proper functioning and health of these organs in the female body.
Vascular sonography focuses on the use of the technology to view the flow of blood through the blood vessels. It can be used to evaluate blood velocity as it flows through vessels and to find blockages or other abnormalities within the flow of blood. It can be used to detect blood clots in the legs and arms and is often used to determine if a patient may need angioplasty, which is the reopening of a blocked blood vessel. It can also be used in conjunction with other procedures in which access to the blood vessels is required.
Neurosonology is the subspecialty of sonography that is primarily concerned with application of the technology to the central nervous system, head, and neck. It has many uses including finding brain tumors and other abnormalities in the head region and is used to image stroke victims.
Ophthalmology is the branch of ultrasonography in which the technology is applied to test on the eye. It can be used to obtain cross sectional images of the eye.