The role of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer plays a vital role in helping diagnose patients. This responsibility might sound intimidating at first, but a good Diagnostic Medical Sonography training program can provide you with all the knowledge and technical skills you need to perform accurate ultrasounds on patients.
You may recognize the role of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer from movies or TV shows about pregnancy. They are the medical professionals in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or medical labs who show expectant mothers their unborn babies on the monitor for the first time. Diagnostic medical sonographers may also tell parents the sex of the unborn child.
But did you know that sonography is more than pregnancy ultrasounds? As a sonographer, you can work with patients of all ages to help detect problems, growths, or diseases within many specific areas of the body. Some sonographers specialize in cardiovascular, abdominal, or OB/GYN, while others remain as generalists.
To find out if this is the right career for you, it’s important to learn more about what you’ll be doing on the job.
What Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Do?
Diagnostic medical sonographers use sonography (ultrasound) machines—medical imaging equipment that uses high-frequency sound waves—to make images of a patients’ organs, tissue, and blood flow.
Your role is to operate, monitor, analyze, and record these ultrasound results.
Below are some duties that diagnostic medical sonographers—also called ultrasound technicians—do daily:
- Prepare patients for ultrasounds
- Take medical histories
- Answer patient questions
- Operate ultrasound equipment
- See the difference between normal and abnormal images
- Analyze and provide summary results for physicians
- Record results
- Work closely with doctors
Do Ultrasound Technicians specialize in one area?
Most of your sonography training will be general training that can apply to all parts of the body. In addition, you might receive specialized lessons on key areas of the body like the abdomen, womb, and pelvis. Some sonographers choose to specialize in one main area. You could specialize in:
- Abdominal sonography: These technicians map a patient’s abdomen to diagnose conditions in the gall bladder, kidneys, liver, or pancreas. They may also assist in other sonography exams if needed.
- Cardiovascular sonography: You could specialize in imaging the heart to detect blockages or other problems.
- Obstetric and Gynecologic sonography: Specializing in imaging the female reproductive system, you can track a fetus’s growth and monitor its health. Working closely with physicians, you can detect possible birth defects. You can also perform pelvic ultrasounds to detect cysts or tumors in patients’ ovaries.
- Pediatric sonography: Working closely with pediatricians and other caregivers, these sonographers perform ultrasounds on children and infants to examine premature newborns or detect birth defects.
As you can see, the field of diagnostic medical sonography offers a variety of specialties, so you’re sure to find an area that fits your interest.
Job Outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you may expect to see a 26% growth rate in this career field between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average of other occupations. If you think the Diagnostic Medical Sonography career is right for you, start researching the training programs near you. If you choose this field, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others!
The American College of Medical Careers, located in Orlando, Florida, provides medical career training. If you live in the Orlando area, take a moment to learn about our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, along with the Cardiovascular Sonography program and the Sonography Bridge Program.