- Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) is the name for the profession practised by diagnostic medical sonographers (ultrasonic imaging | ultrasonography ). Diagnostic medical sonography, a branch of diagnostic medical imaging, uses non-ionizing ultrasound to produce 2D and 3D images of the body. In Canada, the credentialing for diagnostic medical sonography is the Canadian Association of Registered Ultrasound Professionals. In the United States, the credentialing body is the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Occupational Description The diagnostic medical sonographer provides patient services using medical ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves that produce images of internal structures). Working under the supervision of a physician responsible for the use and interpretation of ultrasound procedures, the sonographer helps gather sonographic data to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases, as well as monitor fetal development.
Job Description The sonographer provides patient services in a variety of medical settings in which the physician is responsible for the use and interpretation of ultrasound procedures. In assisting physicians in gathering sonographic data, the diagnostic medical sonographer is able to obtain, review, and integrate pertinent patient history and supporting clinical data to facilitate optimum diagnostic results; perform appropriate procedures and record anatomical, pathological, and/or physiological data for interpretation by a physician; record and process sonographic data and other pertinent observations made during the procedure for presentation to the interpreting physician; exercise discretion and judgment in the performance of sonographic services; provide patient education related to medical ultrasound; and promote principles of good health.
Employment Characteristics Diagnostic medical sonographers may be employed in hospitals, clinics, private offices, and industry. Most full-time sonographers work about 40 hours a week; they may have evening weekend hours and times when they are on call and must be ready to report to work on short notice.
The demand for sonographers, including suitably qualified educators, researchers, and administrators, continues to exceed the supply, with faster than average job growth anticipated. The supply and demand ratio affects salaries, depending on experience and responsibilities.
In 2008, the starting salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer was $43,600.
Educational Programs Length. Accredited programs are between 1 and 4 years (certificate, associate, and baccalaureate level), depending on program design, objectives, and the degree or certificate awarded.
Prerequisites. Applicants to a 1-year program must possess qualifications in a clinically related allied health profession. Applicants to 2-year programs must be high school graduates (or equivalent) with an educational background in basic science, general physics, and algebra. All applicants must demonstrate satisfactory completion of the following courses at college level: general physics, biological science, algebra, and communication skills.Skills potential and practicing sonographers should exhibit include social perceptiveness, learning strategies, critical thinking skills, instructional skills, active listening, active learning, reading comprehension, and written/oral expression.
Curriculum. Curricula of accredited programs include physical sciences, applied biological sciences, patient care, clinical medicine, applications of ultrasound, instrumentation, related diagnostic procedures, and image evaluation. A plan for well-structured, competency-based clinical education is an essential part of the curriculum of all sonography programs.
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