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chelle21689's avatar

What's it like being an Ultrasound Tech/Sonographer?

Asked by chelle21689 (7524points) May 3rd, 2010

Is it a hectic schedule and are you always on call? Do you have to do other things like change bed pans and take care of patients?

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9 Answers

bummer's avatar

You will be the first to know every time!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I always thought this would be a fantastic job. But then I realized that not only do you get to share in everyone’s joy but you are forced to share their worst moments. When something is wrong with a baby then you are the first to know. Scary. I assume all the good moments must make up for the bad but I don’t know I’d have the heart for it.

chelle21689's avatar

I never thought about that part. But there’s a lot of bad news in the world. I hope someone can answer my questions.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@chelle21689 I hope someone can answer your questions as well.

You are right there is a lot of bad news in the world. But it is a bit different being the bearer of bad news especially when it comes to babies. Hey though if you have the stomach for it I’m sure it would be a very rewarding career.

BTW I’ve been to many ultrasounds and have never once seen my tech clean a bed pan or anything else b/c their office is completely separate from the areas where that stuff happens. But there is something called a vaginal ultrasound and if cleaning bed pans freaks you out then that might as well.

MagsRags's avatar

U/S techs are the ones who give patients bad news about their results although they are the first to know. The care provider who ordered the test or another MD/NP who is covering for them is responsible for discussing results with the patient. It’s not just about giving the diagnosis, you have to be able to answer questions, explain details and then make plans for ongoing care.

I’ve seen situations where techs got in trouble for giving patients too much information about the results of their scan, especially when the news was bad. The flip side of that is the challenge of telling the truth without overstepping the boundaries of your role.

MagsRags's avatar

Came back too late to edit – that should read “U/S techs are not the ones who give bad news” sorry

RedPowerLady's avatar

@MagsRags I’m aware they don’t give the news but even if they aren’t the ones to give the news the heartbreaking part is just in the knowing, in the finding it. That is my personal opinion. I’ve been on the other side of a bad ultrasound and then had the same tech on a good ultrasound for our next child. She remembered us and was obviously touched. I saw her reactions and realized how heartbreaking it must be. Not to take away from the joy either.

bummer's avatar

I’m a guy and had ultra sound for AAA, the tech nurse was fun, we kidded a lot, was it a boy or girl – hah! We discussed good/bad news. She said it is daily event. I personally would rather be U/S tech than a dental asst! I love care givers that can laugh in the face of bad news. Empathy, not sympathy, is what most patients want.

dabbler's avatar

There are several specializations in sonography. Besides OB/GYN other fields include cardiac and vascular.

The sonographer isn’t really responsible for patient care, i.e. getting them in and out of the exam room and dealing with issues unrelated to the scan.

BTW the Sonographer should not give any indication of what the scan shows, your doctor should be the one doing that. There is probably some slack for pre-natal about the obvious yes/no & where is it.
Sonographers do see some remarkable things, amazing and alarming, all of which are supposed to be communicated to the doctor for expert analysis not to the patient.

Depending on the region sonographers can be more underpaid than you would imagine. In some regions there is a glut of sonographers and most employers take big advantage of them. In some parts of the country they are still paid reasonably well, but nothing like the PAs and MDs.

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