Sonogram Nurse: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
A sonogram nurse is a licensed nurse who has completed additional training in medical sonography. A sonogram nurse uses a transducer to transmit high frequency sound (ultrasound) waves into a patient's body. The transducer takes an image of the body part using reflected echos and the sonogram nurse sends the image to the physician for diagnosis of disease and pregnancy health. Sonogram nurses can find employment in hospitals, doctor's offices and laboratories.
Duties of a Sonogram Nurse
The sonogram nurse's duties include patient care, use of high- tech equipment and follow-up record keeping. It is the sonogram nurse's responsibility to take the patient's relevant medical history and explain the procedure fully to the patient. This takes an understanding of the entire process as well as the ability to communicate to the patient in a kind and caring manner.
The sonogram nurse must have expertise in the equipment used to take the sonogram. It is a transducer, which sends a beam of upper-frequency sound waves to the area of the body to be imaged. Sonogram nurses must have an excellent understanding of anatomy and physiology to locate the correct body part to be imaged. They also manipulate the patient's body to make sure the best image is taken.
Once the procedure is completed, sonogram nurses are responsible for all images and follow-up administrative tasks. They send the image to a physician for diagnosis. Also, they are usually responsible for the maintenance and up-keep of the sonogram equipment. In some cases they can manage an imaging department, keeping department schedules and performing administrative duties.
Requirements to Become a Sonogram Nurse
There are several paths open to becoming a sonogram nurse. A licensed nurse must complete additional training in medical sonography. There are a number of programs available that take anywhere from 1-4 years to complete. All require some background in anatomy and mathematics.
A certificate program is offered by some hospitals and medical institutes. The programs can vary in length from 1-2 years. Most programs include lectures, on-campus experience with sonographic equipment and off-campus clinical studies. Some programs require prior experience in a healthcare facility.
An associate's degree program is offered by many university hospitals and community colleges. This is a 2-year program that usually requires a background in anatomy, physics and college level math. The curriculum generally includes lectures and clinical experience.
A bachelor's degree program is offered by some 4-year universities. They generally have a pre-requisite of 60 college credits that include courses in anatomy, physiology, physics and math. They also require course work in English composition and social sciences.
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