Although the use of ultrasound for medical purposes dates back to the 1950s in the past decade, we have seen tremendous advancement in the facility. As a result, the new and technologically advanced ultrasound equipment needs a trained ultrasound specialist. An individual who can operate the machine adequately and achieve optimal results would help with patients’ proper diagnosis and treatment. All this has led to a boom in the job of an ultrasound specialist.
So who is an ultrasound specialist?
The job of an ultrasound specialist can be best defined as an experienced technician who specializes in operating high-frequency ultrasound machines. These emit sound waves to record images of the patients’ internal organs. As a result, ultrasound specialists work very closely with doctors, physicians, and other medical professionals to diagnose a patient’s ailment and subsequently develop a treatment plan.
Given the vast range of duties and responsibilities, ultrasound specialists usually end up specializing in one of the following areas
- Obstetric ultrasounds
- Breast ultrasounds
- Gynecologic ultrasounds,
- Vascular ultrasounds and
- Abdominal ultrasounds
Educational requirements for the job of an ultrasound specialist
- Get an associate or a bachelor’s degree with coursework in Sectional anatomy, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Abdominal Sonography, Obstetrics and Gynecological Sonography or even Sonography and ethics. However, this should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Get an internship. Usually, one must have at least two years of internship experience before getting certified.
- Obtain certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)
- Get a license to work as an ultrasound specialist. The licensure requirements largely depend on the state you are practising in.
Duties and responsibilities of an ultrasound specialist
- Scheduling and maintaining patient appointments.
- Part of the job of an ultrasound specialist also includes verification of patients and double-checking their physician’s orders.
- Prepare the exam room and the ultrasound equipment to conduct necessary examinations.
- Explaining the ultrasound procedure to patients as well as answering all their queries and doubts
- Preparing and positioning patients according to the needs and specifications of the type of ultrasound imaging required.
- Spread the ultrasound gel on the patients’ body before the procedure. This is done to protect the internal organs from being damaged.
- Evaluate ultrasound images for their quality. This is followed by interpreting what is captured.
- Present their preliminary findings to physicians and other healthcare professionals.
- Assist radiologists, especially with ultrasound-guided biopsies and other ultrasound vascular procedures
- Study the ultrasound scans and write reports based on the test results. These reports are then passed on to the necessary physicians who diagnose based on the ultrasound reports.
- Recognize and record the appropriate anatomy and pathology of patients using the ultrasound equipment
- Take proper care of the ultrasound machines. This includes keeping it clean and hygienic, regular maintenance, and reporting any equipment failure.
- Alert medical staff if any abnormalities are noted so that they can take timely action.
- Maintain confidentiality of patients’ tests and reports.
- Work both individually as well as part of a team with minimal supervision.
- Display flexibility by maintaining and managing different projects at the same time.
- Display strong work ethics and a friendly, cooperative demeanour.
- Document and maintain a complete record of all procedures conducted, equipment used, and follow-ups (if any). An ultrasound specialist may also add relevant medical notes where needed.
- Maintain efficient disposal of any waste material
- Attend training, workshops and seminars to stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques in the use of ultrasound machinery.
What about the workload of an ultrasound specialist?
Working as an ultrasound specialist, one can expect to have 12 hour long shifts both during the day and on weekends and holidays. Moreover, whether an ultrasound specialist works in a hospital or a private facility, they must have a certain amount of manual dexterity and physical fitness. This is extremely crucial due to the nature of the job of an ultrasound specialist. Being one involves standing for extended periods and lifting heavy equipment apart from carrying out the aforementioned key responsibilities.
The salary that one can expect on the job of an ultrasound specialist may depend on several factors. These include:
- Geographical location
According to statistics, the usual salary ranges from $55,000 to $100,000 annually.
The job of an ultrasound specialist has quite a promising future. Especially now since the trend of traveling ultrasound specialists is picking up so rapidly. Traveling ultrasound specialists now allows a more flexible schedule and higher compensation. Needless to say that choosing this job as a career is indeed worth considering.