Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Ask the average person what a Sonographer is, and the probable response is "I don't know" or "it is someone who works with Ultrasound." If you probe further and ask the person what ultrasound is, the probable response is "something that is used to evaluate the baby's condition in the mother's womb." Definitely, this is part of what Ultrasound can do, but is this all?
Unlike some medical imaging modalities, the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer interacts very heavily with the patient from the moment he/she walks into the Ultrasound Department until he/she leaves. Ultrasound brings the Sonographer into close contact with patients as opposed to most other imaging procedures where the technologist has more of a distant and transient relation behind a protective wall. The Sonographer interviews the patient inquiring about the reasons that brought the patient for the ultrasound examination. Ergo, obtaining an accurate medical history by the Sonographer is very crucial for making a correct diagnosis.
The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, under a physician's supervision, is also responsible for:
- Preparing the patient(s) for the Ultrasound examination
- Selecting the appropriate equipment for the ultrasound examination
- Performing ultrasound examinations that yield important diagnostic information
- Recording and gathering ultrasound data
- Analyzing the data collected and reporting the ultrasound findings to the physician in an oral and written fashion for diagnosis
- Using independent judgment whether to extend the scope of the ultrasound examination or not based on the ultrasound findings
- Interacting and collaborating with physicians and other health care professionals for providing a good quality care of the patient
In addition, the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer evaluates new equipment and products for possible future use. He/she also develops new techniques for performing the examinations. The Sonographer also helps surgeons in the operating room to see structures and organs that may be obscured from direct view.
Nowadays, the Sonographer's responsibilities have increased by working hand-in-hand with radiologists, by assuming "independent" roles, by working for non-radiologists, and by working in hospital settings without physician supervision. Sonographers are treated with high respect within the medical community. Their jobs are never dull and always challenging. A Sonographer can be involved with several Ultrasound Specialties.