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An Overview of the Role of Ultrasound Technicians in Medical Imaging: What Do They Do?

Medical imaging is highly essential in the medical field. It plays a crucial role in diagnosing and treating various health conditions of many patients. One of the most widely used imaging modalities in the world is ultrasound.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create high-quality images of the body’s internal organs. Ultrasound technicians, also referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, are trained experts who use ultrasound equipment to produce images that physicians use to make diagnosis.

In this article, we will explore the core roles of ultrasound technicians in medical imaging and what they do.

What Is an Ultrasound Technician?

An ultrasound technician is a healthcare expert who performs ultrasound scans. These professionals are trained to use these ultrasound devices to produce quality images of various parts of the body, including blood vessels, heart, tissues, and organs. Physicians use these images to diagnose and treat a wide variety of health conditions of their patients.

  • Ultrasound technicians work in various healthcare settings, such as clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
  • They work in different departments like cardiologyradiology, obstetrics & gynecology, and neurology.
  • Ultrasound technicians work with health professionals, such as physicians, to ensure patients the best care possible.

How to Be a Certified Ultrasound Technician

To be a certified ultrasound technician, one must take and pass the SPI exam. Passing the exam requires a lot of hard work and preparation. The SPI exam assesses prospective ultrasound technicians’ abilities, skills, and knowledge in the areas of clinical safety, pulsed echo instrumentation, physical principles, and quality assurance.

Many aspiring ultrasound technicians take an SPI practice test online to test their knowledge to prepare for the actual exam. You can also take your ultrasound technician practice test online or search the web for SPI exam sample tests that you can take. The SPI exam is the only thing standing between you and your career as an ultrasound technician.

The Roles of Ultrasound Technicians in Medical Imaging

The core role of ultrasound technicians in medical imaging is to produce quality ultrasound photos that physicians can use to make accurate diagnosis. To do their job properly, these technicians perform some steps involving patient care and technical skills. Here are some of the roles of ultrasound technicians in medical imaging:

  • Preparing Patients for the Scan

One of the primary roles of ultrasound technicians is preparing patients for the scan. Before the process can take place, the patient must be prepared for the procedure. This involves telling the patient about the procedures and the steps involved.

  • The technician should ensure that the patient is relaxed and comfortable before the procedure.
  • They also need to check if the patient is not wearing anything on the area to be scanned and are well-positioned for the scan.
  • Operating the Ultrasound Equipment

Besides preparing for the ultrasound procedure, these professionals are also in charge of operating the device used for the procedure.

  • Before they start, they will apply a special gel to the patient’s skin to allow for a smoother transmission of the sound wave.
  • After that, they will use a handheld device,  “transducer,” to capture the image. They will also configure the equipment to produce the best images.
  • Analyzing the Produced Images

After generating the image with the machine, the technician will analyze it and ensure it is of high quality. They also ensure all the necessary structures are captured in the image. They also identify and report any abnormalities or potential issues to the physician.

  • Maintaining Patient Records

Another notable role of ultrasound technicians is maintaining accurate patient records. It involves recording the procedure details, the patient’s medical history, and other findings. It is essential for these professionals to record these details correctly, as they ensure that the patients receive the best care possible.

Ultrasound technicians work closely with physicians to ensure the patients are diagnosed and treated appropriately. The technician might be asked to provide more details or images of the ultrasound. They might also be asked to consult with physicians to know the best action to take.

Skills and Qualifications Required to Become an Ultrasound Technician

To become a certified ultrasound technician, one must complete a formal training program and obtain a certification. Many ultrasound technician programs are offered by accredited vocational schools, colleges, and universities and take about two years to complete.

The preparation for the exam takes time, and many people take the online SPI practice exam to prepare for the main exam.

  • In addition to completing the training program and taking the exam, an ultrasound technician must have a strong foundation in mathematics and science.
  • They must also have good communication skills as they work closely with healthcare professionals and patients.

Certification requirements vary by employer and state. However, most require certification from reputable organizations like the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

  • To obtain a certificate, one must pass the series of examinations set by these organizations.

The exams are designed to test your skills and knowledge in ultrasound technology. People also take free ARDMS practice exams online to prepare for the ARDMS certification exam.

Benefits of Pursuing a Career as an Ultrasound Technician

Here are some of the benefits of pursuing a career as an ultrasound technician:

The demand for ultrasound technicians in the healthcare industry is very high, as ultrasound is one of the most used imaging modalities to diagnose diseases. This means more job opportunities for trained and certified ultrasound technicians.

Qualified and certified ultrasound technicians also earn competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their average salary is about $70,000 per year. The salary can vary depending on factors like location, certification, and experience.

  • Career Advancement Opportunity

There are more chances for ultrasound technicians to advance their careers. They can specialize in a specific area of ultrasound technology or pursue a managerial position within healthcare organizations.

Conclusion

Ultrasound technicians are very important in the healthcare industry. They play a vital role in medical imaging. They use their skills and knowledge to produce high-quality images that healthcare professionals can use to diagnose and treat various health conditions. However, you must complete a training program and obtain a certificate to be an ultrasound technician.

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