What does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer do?
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are also known as Ultrasound Technologists. They collect images of the organs through high frequency sound waves. Ultrasound is sent into the body through a transducer, reflected back, processed in the machine, and turned into actual images and videos of human anatomy. These images allow radiologists to see the organs and assess their structure and function.
Why is Diagnostic Medical Sonography important?
Through these images, the doctor can make a diagnosis for the patient. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers provide for the doctors what a stethoscope can’t, an actual look at the anatomy in question. Due to this fact, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers play a non-replaceable role in patient care.
What are the types of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers?
Ultrasound imaging can be used to assess essentially every organ in the body. Because the human body is complex and dynamic, this requires Diagnostic Medical Sonographers to be specialized in imaging specific sections of the body. Sonographers are specialized the same way doctors can specialize. For example, a family medicine doctor does not carry the same type of knowledge a cardiologist has, and vice versa. The same point is true than an obstetrics/gynecological sonographer does not carry the same type of knowledge a cardiac sonographer has, and vice versa. The liver doesn’t operate the same way the heart does, and the bladder doesn’t operate the same way the veins and arteries do. For this reason, it is important that sonographers understand all of the intricate details regarding the structure and function of the area they are imaging.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers can choose their specialty based on their interests. For example, if you are very passionate about working with children, you can specialize in pediatric imaging. If you are considering a career in ultrasound, it is important to understand what specific programs an ultrasound school offers before you commit to a program, so that you can ensure your area of interest is available. Typically, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are initially trained in General Sonography imaging the organs of the abdomen, pelvis and superficial structures of the breast, thyroid, scrotum and prostate.
Advanced sonography programs offer “head to toe” ultrasound training, such as The CURE Center for Ultrasound Research and Education. This type of training encompasses all aspects of ultrasound including General, Vascular, Cardiac, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Oncology, Pediatrics, Musculoskeletal, Neurosonography and subspecialties of each.
The benefit of advanced programs such as The CURE Center are that graduates can pursue any or all of the ultrasound specialties in their work. Often, sonographers specialize in:
· Vascular Technology AKA Vascular Technologist or Vascular Specialist
· Breast Sonography
· Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonographer
· Fetal Echocardiographer
· Pediatric Sonographer
· Musculoskeletal Sonographer
· Veterinary Sonography
· Military Sonography
· & More
Current advances in ultrasound technology even allow sonographers to image the lungs! Although lung imaging is not currently offered as its own specialty, it is becoming increasingly popular since the onset of COVID and is integrating as a part of current and future sonographer job duties.
How does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer become credentialed?
In order for a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer to become credentialed, they must pass a credentialing exam specific to their area of interest.
Eligibility for taking the registry exam includes completing an acceptable ultrasound certificate or degree program, and completing a set amount of class, lab and externship hours. Although these hours vary depending on the program and type of school accreditation, class, lab and externship hours allow a student to have in depth book knowledge, hands on practice and real-life experience caring for patients in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office setting.
If you are a multi-passionate individual, the good news is you don’t have to pick just one specialty! You can take multiple registry exams and hold multiple credentials, as long as you have the appropriate education and externship hours.
Why should I become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
Although there is a wide array of specialties that exist in the world of ultrasound, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers typically have the opportunity to work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, or doctor’s office, no matter what their credentials are.
A career as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer provides the flexibility of different types of work environments, varying shift options, and the rewarding feeling that comes from providing meaningful patient care.
In addition, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers get to be life-long learners, as the field of ultrasound is constantly advancing.
For more information on advanced ultrasound training visit https://www.cure.edu.