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Ultrasound Testing

Heart sounds for nursing assessment examination. The anatomy of the heart, heart sound auscultation points (sites), blood flow, diastole, and systole.

DUTIES

Diagnostic medical sonographers (Ultrasound Techs) operate special imaging equipment that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the interior of the human body. The images and test results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. In fact, ultrasound sonograms are often the first imaging tests performed when disease is suspected.

  • Prepare patients for procedures by taking their medical history and answering any questions about the procedure.
  • Prepare and maintain diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Operate equipment to obtain diagnostic images or to conduct tests.
  • Review images or test results to check for quality and adequate coverage of the areas needed for diagnoses.
  • Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images, and identify other diagnostic information.
  • Analyze diagnostic information to provide a summary of findings for physicians.
  • Record findings and keep track of patients' records.

The sonographer uses an instrument called an ultrasound transducer to scan parts of the patient's body that are being examined. The transducer emits pulses of sound that bounce back, causing echoes. The echoes are then sent to an ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images used by physicians for diagnosis.

Ultrasound Specialization Areas

  • Abdominal sonographers specialize in imaging a patient's abdominal cavity and nearby organs, such as the kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or spleen. Abdominal sonographers may assist with biopsies or other examinations requiring ultrasound guidance.
  • Breast sonographers specialize in imaging a patient's breast tissues. Sonography can confirm the presence of cysts and tumors that may have been detected by the patient, the physician, or a mammogram. Breast sonographers work closely with physicians and assist with procedures that track tumors and help to provide information that will aid doctors in making decisions about the best treatment options for breast cancer patients.
  • Cardiac sonographers (echocardiographers) specialize in imaging a patient's heart. They use ultrasound equipment to examine the heart's chambers, valves, and vessels. The images obtained are known as echocardiograms. An echocardiogram may be performed either while the patient is resting or after the patient has been physically active. Cardiac sonographers also may take echocardiograms of fetal hearts so that physicians can diagnose cardiac conditions during pregnancy. Cardiac sonographers work closely with physicians or surgeons before, during, and after procedures.
  • Musculoskeletal sonographers specialize in imaging muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These sonographers may assist with ultrasound guidance for injections, or during surgical procedures, that deliver medication or treatment directly to affected tissues.
  • Pediatric sonographers specialize in imaging children and infants. Many of the medical conditions they image are associated with premature births or birth defects. Pediatric sonographers may work closely with pediatricians and other caregivers.
  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in imaging the female reproductive system. Many pregnant women receive sonograms to track the baby's growth and health. Obstetrical sonographers work closely with physicians in detecting congenital birth defects.

EDUCATION

Diagnostic medical sonographers need formal education, such as an associate's degree or a postsecondary certificate. Employers prefer graduates of programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Colleges and universities offer both associate's and bachelor's degree programs in sonography, while one-year certificate programs may be available from selected hospitals.

Most sonography programs are divided into the specialized fields, such as abdominal sonography or breast sonography. In addition to requiring classroom study, most programs include a clinical component in which students earn credit while working under a more experienced technologist in a hospital, or imaging laboratory. In addition, graduates should acquire a basic life support (BLS) certification, including training in CPR.

CERTIFICATION

The ARDMS offers ultrasound certificates in Abdomen, Breast, Echocardiography, Neurosonology, OB/GYN, Vascular Technology, Musculoskeletal Sonography. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits thousands of health science education programs in the US. If you graduate from a school accredited by the CAAHEP, you’re automatically qualified to sit for the ARDMS exam. In order to earn certification from the ARDMS, individuals must take the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) examination.

The ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers), formed under Inteleos, is a non-profit organization established in 1975. Worldwide, over 90,000 medical professionals have been certified by the ARDMS, representing a variety of specializations including cardiac, vascular, and OB/GYN sonography. ARDMS is accredited by several prestigious and reputable bodies, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

QUALITIES FOR SUCCESS

Ask yourself if you can see yourself being an ultrasound tech, having daily contact with patients who may be elderly, ill, or recovering from surgery. Other patients may have physical or emotional disabilities, which can be challenging. While classes and internships will prepare you well, certain innate qualities that you bring to bear will help you succeed.

Qualities for Success
Diagnostic imaging workers must work closely with patients. Sometimes patients are in extreme pain or mental stress, and these workers must get cooperation from the patients in order to create usable images.
Diagnostic imaging workers are on their feet for long periods and must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.
To get quality images, diagnostic imaging workers must accurately move equipment on the patient's body in response to what they see on the screen.
Diagnostic imaging workers must understand how to operate complex machinery and computerized instruments.
Diagnostic imaging workers must communicate clearly when discussing images with physicians and other members of the healthcare team.

Hepatitis


-Hepatitis A: transmitted fecal-oral in contaminated food or water, vaccine is available, anti-HAV IgM or IgG to diagnose, post-exposure: immune globulin (2 weeks after exposure), acute only
-Hepatitis B: transmitted via blood and body fluids...most commonly sexual intercourse and IV drug use, HBsAg (infectious) and anti-HAV (immune), vaccine available, acute and chronic
-Hepatitis C: transmitted via blood and body fluids...most commonly IV drug use, NO vaccine available, acute and chronic

Nervous System


In this video we will discuss sympathetic and parasympathetic pharmacology, which will include a discussion about sympathomimetics, parasympathomimetics, sympatholytics, and parasympatholytics drugs.

Bone Fractures


Bone fracture types nursing review for the NCLEX exam that covers treatments, signs and symptoms, causes, and nursing interventions. A bone fracture is a break or crack in a bone. There are several types of bone fractures.

Fluid and Electrolytes


-Fluid and electrolyte normal values range balance
-Signs and symptoms of fluid and electrolyte imbalances
-Causes of fluid and electrolyte imbalances
-Fluid and electrolytes mnemonics (memorization tricks)
-Includes all 6 fluid and electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, phosphate, potassium, sodium, and chloride)

JOB OUTLOOK

Most diagnostic imaging workers work full time. Some may work evenings, weekends, or overnight because they work in facilities that are always open. Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2017 to 2026, much faster than the average for all healthcare occupations.

Diagnostic medical sonographers do most of their work at diagnostic imaging machines in dimly lit rooms. The must adhere to precise procedures, and pay attention to the screen while scanning a patient's body, because the cues that contrast healthy areas with unhealthy ones may be subtle. Diagnostic imaging workers may be on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn patients who are ill or disabled.


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