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What Are the Working Conditions for an Ultrasound Tech?

There are many different career choices for those who want to work in the health industry. While physicians, pharmacists and nurses may be among the most well-known health careers there are many other options for job-seekers to consider. You could train for a job as an X-ray technologist or a lab technician. There are also a number of schools that offer courses for those interested in pursuing employment as an ultrasound technician.

Sonography is a non-invasive procedure that creates images of a patient’s internal organs and circulatory system. When an ultrasound scan (sonogram) is being performed it is possible for physicians to see any problems that are limiting the flow of blood to a particular area of the body. These scans are very helpful when used to detect, diagnose and treat diseases and medical conditions. Routine ultrasound procedures can find serious health conditions such as heart blockages, strokes, tumors and blood clots before a patient is even displaying symptoms.

Early detection and prompt treatment can give patients a better chance for full recovery. As an ultrasound technician you will be working on the front lines to help others while obtaining the clear, precise sonograms that your job requires.

Working Conditions for an Ultrasound Tech

The working conditions are indoors where the temperature and cleanliness of the rooms are constantly being monitored. Techs are not going to have to work outdoors where you would have to deal with extreme weather conditions.

Some of the equipment that you will be working with requires that the room be kept at a slightly cooler temperature than normal. For this reason you might find many techs wearing sweaters or long-sleeved shirts underneath their hospital scrubs. During the fall and winter months it can become noticeably chilly in the interior of an ultrasound procedure room.

Working in a hospital setting is a rewarding experience but the job can be far from glamorous. There will be times when you must perform sonograms in a birthing room, an operating room, at a patient’s bedside or in an emergency trauma room. You can expect to see blood, broken bones, traumatic injuries and patients who are in severe pain. You will also be expected to deal with any situation in a professional, compassionate and caring manner.

Ultrasound scans are being used in other settings that include out-patient centers, mobile medical vans, free-standing clinics and physician offices. There will be a tremendous variety of patients and health conditions that you may be seeing on a daily basis. Some ultrasound techs prefer to specialize in one area such as obstetrics or pediatrics instead of being constantly required to handle every different ultrasound procedure being requested.

You will have days when you are pressed to get all of your work done. On some occasions there may be few testing procedures on the schedule. These would be the days when you can devote time to cleaning and organizing the patient rooms.

There is an extensive amount of patient and family contact when you work as an ultrasound tech. These types of working conditions create the possibility of contracting a virus, bacterial infection or some other disease from the individuals with whom you are working. Cross-contamination is also a potential problem for the patients who are undergoing ultrasound procedures.

You are going to be expected to understand how to limit your potential of exposure to body fluids, blood and infectious diseases. It is your duty to keep both you and your patient as safe as possible. This means using gloves, following standard sterile procedures and keeping the equipment, gel, tables and other items clean and germ-free.

Even though the working conditions require all techs to perform the testing procedures as quickly as possible you cannot overlook the fundamentals. You will always have to check the identity of each patient and double-check the test that is being ordered. If contrast dye is being administered you must check for possible allergies before any patient receives this contrast medium. You will also have to analyze the data that you see on the scan and report all of the findings to the physician.

There are going to be many times that your working conditions become hectic, chaotic and tense. Patient schedules will be disrupted, the ultrasound equipment may fail to function properly or the patient may be uncooperative. It is the responsibility of the techs to deal with each of these situations in a professional manner. Ultimately you must do the best you can to perform the testing procedures to the best of your ability and still provide quality patient care.