When pursuing a career in the medical field, there are plenty of roles and areas that you may be interested in. Working as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you will be working in a growing field, with increasing demand. If you are considering working in this field, or are interested in learning more about what the role involves and how to work towards it, here are just a few of the basics about diagnostic medical sonographers, and how to become one.
What is the job and what are the responsibilities?
Diagnostic medical sonographer, or ultrasound technicians, use special imaging equipment that direct soundwaves into a patient’s body to create images of their internal organs. This helps physicians to assess and diagnose various medical conditions. This procedure is also known as an ultrasound, sonogram or echocardiogram, and when you are a licensed DMS you will be an expert in handling the technical equipment that you need to use.
How do you become one?
In order to become a licensed DMS, there are several steps that you need to take. The first is to complete a diagnostic medical sonography program, which will give you the essential skills and experiences you need to work in this field. You will learn the technical skills required to operate the different equipment, important medical knowledge, and analysis, critical thinking and leadership skills that will help you stand out in a pool of applicants.
Once you have completed your associate or bachelor’s degree, you can take a certification exam to become a certified DMS. While this is not necessary in many states, it can increase your employability, so it is recommended to sit this exam.
What other skills do you need?
Working as a DMS combines your medical, technical and personal skills in order to make you a competent individual, with an eye for detail, who can also help make patients feel calm and at ease. There are many different skills that you will need in order to succeed in this role, including:
- Medical knowledge – both of the human body and the medical equipment you are using.
- Empathy – this is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your patient, to try and understand their situation and emotions. This can help them feel more comfortable, and help you to connect with them in what may be a stressful situation.
- Physical stamina – this job involves being on your feet for most of the day, so you need to be physically fit in order to do this. You will need to remain alert, and will have to treat every case and patient with the same level of care and professionalism, even if you are on a longer shift.
- Attention to detail – when looking at an ultrasound, you need to be able to accurately assess it and identity any problems. Being a detailed-oriented individual will help you achieve this, as you have to be able to pay attention to the technical equipment you are using as well as looking for the subtlest details on a scan while adhering to the scanning protocols.
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