Have you been curious about what it takes to become an ultrasound technician but aren’t sure if the job is right for you? Have you wondered, “What does an ultrasound tech do?”
A career as an ultrasound tech can be very rewarding and offers great job stability.
As an ultrasound technician, you’ll be required to have an in-depth knowledge of the human body. You’ll also need solid problem-solving skills and a desire to help the patients that you serve. You’ll see patients with a variety of needs and conditions from one day to the next, but you’ll also need good people skills as you work with nursing staff members and doctors each day.
Ultrasound technicians can work in various settings from physician offices to hospitals or diagnostic labs. Ultrasound techs frequently put their skills to use during prenatal examinations, but they’re also very valuable in vascular technology and Neurosonology situations.
It’s important to know what to expect before beginning your education. Let’s take a look at what a typical day in the life of an ultrasound technician might look like:
Ultrasound CME Check-In Routine
Before starting work for the day, ultrasound technicians will go over their current cases with the ultrasound staff and the nursing staff. They’ll examine the medical charts of each patient carefully with the nursing staff and go over any questions or concerns.
Then it’s time to do a routine check of all the ultrasound equipment to make sure it’s all running smoothly. Before each shift, technicians conduct these quality control checks and document them to make sure no damage has been done to the equipment and to ensure that all the supplies they need are on hand.
Seeing the First Patient
After going over the medical charts and preparing the equipment, sonographers get ready to see their first patient of the day. Some patients might be coming to you feeling very nervous and anxious about what you’re going to find on the sonograph image.
If a doctor has sent them to get images taken because cancer is suspected, for example, it’s your job to get a thorough image and to help the patient throughout the procedure. Take a few minutes beforehand to talk to the patient calmly and to explain what you’ll be doing.
An important aspect of training to become an ultrasound CME is learning how to act in different situations. Some patients will be very excited to see you as they anticipate seeing their first baby during an ultrasound appointment. Others will be fearful and stressed worrying about what you’ll find on the image.
After you’ve spoken with the patient and helped them relax and prepare, you can begin the procedure of obtaining the best image possible. This image will help the doctor in diagnosing or determining the patient’s health.
In Case of Emergency
Sometimes you’ll receive an urgent call during your shift to let you know that you’re needed in the emergency room to perform an ultrasound. An example might be if a pregnant woman has come to the ER complaining of severe pain and worried about the life of her baby.
Start by helping calm the patient and explaining to her that you need to get a good, clear image of her baby. You have to act quickly in this situation for the health of the baby. The image you obtain could save the baby’s life, so while you must act fast, you also have to get a clear image that can help the doctors help the unborn child.
There are stressful moments of high pressure sometimes when you’re working as an ultrasound technician. But when you’ve been trained from a good school and you’ve experienced many of these situations over time, you’ll be confident and prepared.
Other Possible Situations
As you’re wrapping up in the emergency room, you might be called over the PA system. You call your supervisor and get a notice that you are needed to come help another ultrasound tech who is having some technical issues with their equipment.
As you head back to assist, you might receive alerts on your pager letting you know that you have a couple more patients waiting upstairs for their scheduled ultrasounds.
What Does An Ultrasound Tech Do? Well, No Two Days Are the Same
As an ultrasound technician, no two days are the same. Some days you might see nothing but good news and happy patients, and on other days you might experience just the opposite. Rarely will you be able to stick around to find out what happens with each patient that you see.
What a “typical day” looks like will also depend a lot on whether you end up working at a hospital or in a diagnostics lab. If you work at a gynecology office, chances are you’ll mostly do ultrasounds for expecting mothers.
Even though each day brings new challenges, the job of a dependable ultrasound technician is a very important. Doctors rely on the images you take to help make the right diagnosis or even save a life.
Find Other Ways to Be of Service
You might seek out an education as an Ultrasound CME because working in a field where you can regularly serve others appeals to you. Making it your job to help others can be a very rewarding experience.
Now that you have an answer to, “What does an ultrasound tech do?”, if you’re interested in other ways you can help others, check out some of articles on how to find some amazing volunteer opportunities or learn more about the benefits of serving those around you.