A Day in the Life of a Sonographer
Ultrasound technicians, or sonographers, have an important job in the medical field. They are responsible for seeing multiple patients every day and diagnosing conditions, diseases, and symptoms and relaying that information to other medical professionals. They may not be reattaching limbs or installing stints, but they are saving lives nonetheless. Sonographers are the first line of defense in the world of medicine. Let’s take a look at a day in the life of a sonographer.
First Thing in the Morning
The sonographer is responsible for operating the ultrasound equipment anywhere in the clinic or hospital. There are portable machines that can go anywhere, including the emergency room. The sonographer will turn on the machines, check them to make sure they are running properly, and get ready for the day. Ultrasound machines have different camera types for different exams. The sonographer will select the proper one for each patient. That information will be in the charts and patient lists available to them. The number of patients varies from day to day, but they will see anywhere from 8-17 patients a day.
Before the patient arrives, the sonographer will go over the chart to find out what kind of examination to perform and to review the patient’s medical history. They will then read any doctor’s notes so they know what information the doctor wants from the results of the exam. It is important to review all the material to get the best possible image so the patient doesn’t have to come back for another examination.
Once the patient arrives, the sonographer will verify their identity. Some ultrasound exams have specific preparations that the patient must adhere to before the exam, like fasting or drinking quantities of liquids. The sonographer will confirm the patient followed the guidelines.
Once the patient is in the examination room, the sonographer will have them lie on the table in the most comfortable position that will allow for a clear image. A warm gel is applied to the appropriate area and, using a linear probe ultrasound, the exam is conducted. Once the sonographer obtains the required number of quality images, the patient is excused. The images will go to a radiologist or the doctor so they can examine them and make the final diagnosis.
Realities of the Job
A considerable portion of the sonographer’s job is performing pelvic exams for pregnant women, which monitor fetal development and identify the baby’s sex. That is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Ultrasounds are also used to diagnose serious illnesses like testicular cancer, kidney stones, and broken bones. Often a sonographer is the first to know if someone has a serious disease, and they may be called upon to examine areas of the human body that might make them uncomfortable.