Job Title: Ultrasound Technician
Type of Company: My company provides ultrasound services to various hospitals and medical offices.
Education: BA, Bridgewater State College ultrasound certificate, Middlesex Community College
Previous Experience: I trained at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston for a year and worked there for another four and a half years afterwards.
Job Tasks: My primary role is to provide diagnostic ultrasound images and report significant medical findings, either verbally or in in writing, to a licensed radiologist. I scan pregnant women, as well as people with other medical problems. Ultrasound is sensitive to the soft tissue organs of the body, so doctors refer their patients for an ultrasound when they want to know if the patient has gallstones, pancreatitis, liver problems, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, kidney or bladder problems, issues with reproductive organs, an enlarged thyroid or a clot (or clots) in the veins of the arm or the leg. Ultrasound can also aid a physician to take a biopsy of an organ with the ultrasound machine acting as a searchlight. A woman who finds a lump in her breast will sometimes need to have a sample of the tissue tested to see if it is cancerous. An ultrasound machine is used to aid the physician during the procedure and assure that the right tissue's sampled. In a hospital, critically ill patients are seen at the bed side, emergency patients are seen as needed and non-emergent issues are scheduled during the regular day. You will be required to do a lot of hands-on training before you develop the skills to perform an ultrasound on your own.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is feeling I contribute to diagnosing and, in some cases, curing a patient's disease. And even when it doesn't find the problem, ultrasound can help a physician rule out a number of possible causes. Also seeing the joy on parents faces when they learn of a pregnancy or of the gender of their baby is rewarding.
The worst part of my job is bad news. I am not allowed to tell the patients. Although I am trained to know when there is a problem, legally I can't tell them.
Job Tips: Before you go to school, find a facility where you can observe for a day so you can get a feel for what it's really like. Don't be intimidated by the idea of being around sick people; the majority of patients are not. Look at all areas of radiology if ultrasound isn't your thing.
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