As a Medical Sonographer, you would perform a wide variety of procedures on patients to aid the Radiologist’s job of identifying the illness, disease, or injury. Throughout the ultrasound procedure, you would actively make diagnostic decisions that would highlight the patient’s condition or lack thereof. Your images would be read by the Radiologist who relies on your expertise in “painting a portrait” of the patient’s medical condition.
A typical appointment would look like this: Your patient arrives for his ultrasound appointment, possibly prepped for the exam (full bladder or 6 hours of fasting are the most common). If the patient had a previous ultrasound for the same condition, you would access that report and ideally look at the images as well.
You would examine the doctor’s order which will state the reason for this procedure, and also read the patient’s written history form. The ultrasound room would need to be set up in advance for that particular ultrasound exam. The patient would be brought into the room where they might change into an exam gown. You would get a verbal medical history pertaining to the reason for the exam (ie, 3 days persistent abdominal pain below the right ribcage) and additional pertinent information (pt has hepatitis, pt had gall bladder removed 2 years ago). You would explain to the patient what is involved in the procedure and what is expected from the patient (Like patient will need to hold there breath at times).
The patient will need to understand that it is the radiologist that interprets the ultrasound images, not you.
The patient might need assistance in moving from a wheelchair to the exam table. Once the patient is on the table, you would ask the patient to lie in a position that is best suited for that particular procedure. Next, you would select the proper equipment and technical settings to obtain ultrasound images of optimal quality.
Ultrasound tech job description:
The study involves using a handheld transducer which is placed on the body part along with transmission gel to allow the sound waves to penetrate the patient’s skin. You would proceed with the study, based on a very specific protocol for that type of study, probably including many measurements of specific body parts.
Ultrasound protocols are standardized throughout the profession, but each radiologist or hospital may request or omit specific images. Once done, you would tell the patient that their doctor (the ordering doctor) will get a report from the Radiologist. You would clean the room for the next exam, edit the study if needed, and fill out a worksheet stating what you found. The Radiologist might discuss the study with you.
Additional responsibilities would include observing patient information confidentiality, maintaining a professional and respectful relationship with the patient, observing patient and staff safety practices, proper cleaning and sterilization of machinery and ultrasound room, keeping up to date on recent advances in Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound by attending conferences and/or completing continuing medical education courses.