What Does a Medical Sonographer Do?

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A Medical Sonographer uses advanced medical equipment to capture images of the tissue and organs inside the human body. You might not know the job title but you’re probably familiar with those pictures. Better known as ultrasounds, they’re what you see when a soon-to-be-mom presents a blurry image of an unborn baby. While you may not be able to tell much from the fuzzy fetus shape, a doctor can! And the person who takes the image is a Medical Sonographer.

Daily Duties of a Medical Sonographer

Your first responsibility as a Medical Sonographer is to take ultrasounds or sonograms. The process starts when a doctor is trying to diagnose a patient or check the status of something they’ve been watching—like that growing fetus. When your patient comes in for a sonogram, you put them at ease, explain the procedure, and set them up for a good image. Here’s a closer look at your duties for this role:

Position Patients for Imaging

To capture a good image, the patient must be properly situated on the exam table. Make sure they are comfortable and that you have adequate access to the area that you need to scan. Then, you apply a water-based gel to the area to prevent air bubbles that can alter the scan.

Operate Diagnostic Equipment

The part of the machine that you use to capture the image is called a transducer. This device uses sound waves to scan the body. Those sound waves produce echoes, which form an image on a computer screen. Your job is to operate the transducer and ensure that it captures a quality image.

Check Images for Quality

Patients can move and mistakes can happen, so it’s important to review the images that have been captured. Check for adequate coverage of the area and for image quality. If the images don’t look right, or if some areas are missing, take a few more while the patient is still in the exam room.

Update Patient Records

Once you have processed the images, you provide a summary of the findings to the physician. They use your work to make a diagnosis for their patient. You also update the patient’s medical record with the ultrasound images and results.

Perform Cleaning and Maintenance

Before and after each patient, it’s critical to sterilize the medical equipment and tools. You maintain the equipment, clean it frequently, and make sure it stays in proper working order. If you find a problem, you make sure the proper personnel check it out.

Sonographer Specializations

During a typical day, you may see patients who need ultrasounds for different reasons. Some may need an ultrasound of their abdomen while others need an ultrasound of their heart. As a medical sonographer, you can also specialize in one of these areas. Here are a few to focus on:

  • Abdominal—This includes imaging of the kidneys, liver, and gallbladder for cancer, renal failure, and other health conditions.
  • Pediatric—In this specialization, you would focus on ultrasounds for children and infants.
  • Breast—This includes imaging of the breast tissue to track the growth of cysts and tumors that may have been discovered through a mammogram.
  • Cardiac—Sonograms of the heart are called echocardiograms and these images can help doctors detect heart disease or failure.

If medical sonography sounds like the right career for you, contact Charter College today. We offer an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. The program is offered in blended mode for convenience and flexibility. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.