What Do Sonogram Nurses Do?
Nurses take on a lot of different roles and duties in hospitals and private practices. Not only do they care for patients, communicate with doctors to administer medicine, and monitor vital signs, but they also operate a wide variety of equipment. Yet there is still a shortage, which makes it a good career option for those looking to get into healthcare. Today, many nurses specialize in different areas making it a varied career. In this article, we will examine the role of sonogram nurses and how to become one.
A Sonogram Nurse With an Ultrasound Machine
What Are Sonogram Nurses?
Commonly referred to as diagnostic medical sonographers, sonogram nurses are specialists that provide patients with ultrasound images or tests. They work with ultrasound transducers that use high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the specific part of the body doctors want more information on.
The different fields of sonography translate to an array of sub-fields under this profession. For instance, there are abdominal sonographers, cardiac sonographers, and pediatric sonographers. While abdominal sonographers focus on the patient’s abdominal area, cardiac sonographers zoom in on the patient’s heart. Pediatric sonographers, on the other hand, specialize in infants and children. Each of these fields of sonography has a different set of ultrasound machines that have been designed specifically for those medical applications. The website ultrasoundportables.com has a list of common applications for ultrasound machines and the top-recommended ultrasound machine models for each category.
What Are the Educational Requirements for Sonogram Nurses?
Unlike other professions within the healthcare sector, a bachelor's degree isn't necessarily a requirement for becoming a sonogram nurse. Instead, what you need is a certain level of knowledge and expertise in sonography. There are plenty of ways you can achieve this. You can take an associate’s degree, a postsecondary certificate, or a bachelor’s degree in sonography.
These programs will not only help you learn more about anatomy, applied sciences, and medical terminology but also assist you in picking out a specialization. That’s because courses like these tend to start their students in their specialization of choice early. For instance, those who are interested in becoming a cardiac sonographer have separate coursework in invasive and non-invasive sonography.
The same paths also apply to those who are already working as nurses but would like to get into sonography. Postsecondary certificate programs, which are offered by hospitals, medical institutes, and post-secondary learning institutions, can vary in length from 1 to 2 years. On the other hand, an associate’s degree in sonography offered by many university hospitals and community colleges can take two years.
If time is not an issue for you, you can also become a sonographer by taking a bachelor’s degree in sonography. A bachelor’s degree in sonography, as mentioned, can help you pick out a specialization and allow you to be well-acquainted with various ultrasound technologies. However, if your end goal is to increase your earning potential, it would be best to take a bachelor’s degree in nursing instead.
That’s because a nursing degree tends to have more overall job opportunities, more focus on direct patient care, greater opportunity to specialize in an area of interest, and a predictable process for career advancement. Additionally, today’s online RN to BSN programs also allow registered nurses to develop their clinical, research, and leadership skills remotely, with coursework able to be accomplished 100% online. This way, you can continue accomplishing your responsibilities as a sonography nurse while preparing for something more.
A Sonogram Nurse With a Patient Performing a Medical Examination Using an Ultrasound Machine.
What Other Certifications and Licenses Should a Sonogram Nurse Get?
Although certification isn't mandatory for diagnostic medical sonographers, it is strongly recommended. That's because certain insurance companies won't pay for procedures unless certified sonographers perform them. This, then, makes sonogram nurses with certifications and licenses more desirable.
Obtaining specialty licensing and certifications will also help you gain more on-the-job experience and training opportunities. Some of the professional organizations that offer licensing and certification are the American Registry for Radiologic Technologists, Cardiovascular Credentialing International, and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology.
How Much Do Sonogram Nurses Earn?
As mentioned above, earnings will depend on the kind of training you get, but the median salary of a diagnostic medical sonographer was $74,320 in May 2019. Of course, this can go up if you are willing to work weekends, evenings, and overnights, especially in hospital settings.
What Is the Job Outlook for Sonogram Nurses in the United States?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to be at 12%, between 2019 and 2029. As the baby-boom population of the country continues to age, the agency also speculates that the need for diagnostic procedures that leverage imaging technologies will be bigger. For this reason, sonogram nurses who are certified in more than one specialty will most definitely have the best job opportunities in the coming years.
Written solely by Mackenzie Mcgee for ultrasoundportables.com 5/17/2021