A sonographer, or diagnostic medical sonographer, uses ultrasound equipment to view the inside of the human body and assist physicians in making diagnoses. Typically, a physician issues a medical order for an ultrasound, which the sonographer carries out using special ultrasound equipment to produce diagnostic images.
During image collection, the sonographer applies a clear gel on the skin in the area to be examined. The sonographer then uses a small piece of equipment called a transducer to transmit sound waves inside the patient's body. The sound waves create an image of the internal structure of the area, and this image is used to detect diseases, follow the development of a fetus in utero, and evaluate various aspects of internal organs' function.
A sonographer typically works indoors in a medical setting. Although sonographers are typically associated with obstetrics, they work in many areas of medicine such as vascular technologies, breast screenings, ophthalmology, and abdominal area specialties. A sonographer typically is expected to spend long periods of time standing, and they must be able to lift up to 50 pounds frequently; they must also have the full use of their hands, arms, wrists, and shoulders to accommodate the physical demands of their job. Sonographers must have strong communication skills and be able to meet the demands of their job while interacting with a variety of people (which may include physicians, nurses, and patients from a variety of backgrounds).
Education requirements for sonographers vary. Typically one must have received relevant formal education in United States, typically about two years of training as a sonography technician. This training can occur at a vocational or technical institution, college or university, or through military servic. Generally, employers require sonographers to be a graduate of an American Medical Association-approved institution as a radiologic technologist and registered in their state as a sonographer.
- Maintain equipment and follow safety regulations.
- Interpret and add electronic notes to diagnostic images.
- Operate and adjust ultrasound and other equipment to obtain diagnostic images.
- Complete paperwork and route tasks and images to appropriate staff.