Career Scan: All about Sonographers

Sonographers
Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/doctor-sonography-ipad-hospital-1807475/

If you are a caring person driven by compassion who loves to help others, it’s no surprise that you’ve decided on a career in healthcare. If you are also interested in the latest medical technologies, you want a job that is never mundane and you like to work at a fast pace, a career in ultrasound may be the perfect fit for you. If you want to learn about sonographer jobs, let’s cover the basics.

What will you encounter as a sonographer?

Your day-to-day tasks will always vary, however your main task will be to generate sonograms  using special equipment that emits sound waves and returns an image. You will safely prep the examination room and relevant equipment that you will use, you will recognise and diagnose abnormalities in these images, and report them to the relevant medical staff, either directly or in your write up of the session.

Patients who require an ultrasound scan range from expectant mothers, to people with heart problems or even cancer, and you will need to know how to handle them individually. While sometimes you will be delivering good news, you will also have to learn how to deliver bad news, support your patient, and know the correct protocol for reporting any abnormalities that you spot. You will need to be able to empathise with patients and always put forward your best positive attitude.

As with any healthcare work, you can expect to be moving around a lot on your feet and to work shifts as well as weekends and holidays. The years put into to study and the hard work will pay off if this really is the perfect job for you.

How to get there

While communication is a key part of this role, the medical details are also vital, so you need several years of education behind you. Currently, ultrasound is only taught at postgraduate level in the UK, so you first need to get a bachelors degree, preferably in radiology. However, you can also make this specialisation from another relevant healthcare science degree or midwifery. This means you will likely have to study for 6 years before practising as a sonographer.

Since there is no protected title for a sonographer, if you want to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) you must do so under your original degree title, e.g. as a radiographer or a midwife, etc.

The great thing about becoming a sonographer is the diversity of areas they can specialise in.  If you like working with pregnant women, you could work in the gynaecology unit, you could focus on echocardiography in the cardiac health department, or you could work solely with body parts in the abdomen, or you could specialise in joints, or breasts.

That covers everything you need to consider when contemplating a career in sonography. The important thing is to have your heart in it, and the rest will follow.

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