What is a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer?
A diagnostic medical sonographer uses specialized equipment to create images of a patient’s body. Sound waves are emitted from the patient’s body, and they either pass through or return an echo.
The return of the wave and the depth the wave makes it into the body create the image. This is also widely known as an ultrasound scan or an echocardiogram when to do with the heart. These images can be used to diagnose medical conditions and assess their severity.
If you become an ultrasound technician, your duties will include the preparation of patients for the scan.
You may need to answer any questions the patient has about the procedure and go through their notes and medical history. You would also be responsible for preparing any equipment that is required and making sure it is fit to be used.
You will need to apply a gel to the area of the patient you are scanning to help the waves pass through. Analyzing the images you take will also be a requirement.
As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you will need to recognize the difference between an image that is normal and abnormal. Once you have done this, you will also need to provide the physician with preliminary findings and keep records up to date.
Different types of medical sonographers
There are lots of different kinds of sonographers. The most well-known is an obstetric sonographer, who will produce images of babies as they are developing inside the mother’s womb. As well as this, they have specialized in the female reproductive systems and are skilled at diagnosing conditions here.
An echo cardiologist specializes in taking images of the heart. In doing this, they can monitor how well the heart is functioning and its capacity. This information can be used to detect conditions and decipher how best to treat them.
Vascular sonographers look at the circulatory system in the body, so, blood vessels like veins and arteries. They use ultrasound to look at any weak areas of the circulatory system. They also watch the flow of blood and watch for blood clots.
Abdominal sonographers create images of the abdominal area and the systems and organs that lie within. They can diagnose conditions such as kidney stones and things like tumors too.
As well as these, there are also neuro sonographers and musculoskeletal ultrasound technicians. Neurosonographers are specialists in imaging the brain and spine. Musculoskeletal ultrasound technicians specialize in imaging the joints and the skeleton.
They also image the muscles and ligaments supporting the skeleton. These images are used to look at injuries and can help determine the correct treatment.
How to become a diagnostic medical sonographer
To become a diagnostic medical sonographer, education is critical. The usual route is to complete an associate degree on the subject. The most important thing is to make sure the program is accredited.
There aren’t that many restrictions on schools that provide the training, so it is important to make sure your degree will be recognized when you have completed it. If you haven’t attended an accredited program, it will be difficult to get a job afterward.
The degree usually takes two years, and classroom learning, as well as practical learning, is completed. Around 1000 hours of training in a clinical setting is required for the course to be completed. This is where you would be spending time learning from a qualified diagnostic medical sonographer.
While doing this, you will practically learn how to use the equipment and put the techniques you have been studying into practice. You will also be able to see the procedures surrounding ultrasound examinations and how patients react and deal with the process, first-hand.
Diagnostic medical sonographer’s salary
As with anything, the geographical area you are working in and the organization you are working for can have an impact on your potential salary. The annual salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer ranges from somewhere in the region of $47,000 to $93,000.
This broad range of wages shows how much area and employer can have a difference. For such a short time spent in formal education, this is one of the highest paying jobs you can get. You reap serious monetary award for the time and effort you put in.
Sonographers who are paid the highest wages tend to work in an outpatient center or a specialist hospital. With the number of sonographers required expected to increase substantially in the coming years, there will be a significant number of job opportunities.
There has never been a better time to begin on your path to becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer.