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Posted 17 September 2019 - 10:31 AM
Hi, I’m looking for advice on what sonography is like as a career? I’ve been interested in pursuing a career in sonography for a few years and am thinking of enrolling at uni here to start the dead dip in medical ultrasound but a few things -
- I’m not a radiographer, I have a health science background having studies human biology with advanced level anatomy and physiology units at uni. But I need to get a trainee placement. Has anyone ever got a trainee placement not having worked in the field already? I rang around every ultrasound clinic/private and public a few years ago and no one was interested.
- what is it actually like working as a sonographer? I’ve heard some people report that bad shoulder problems have ended their career? Is that just bad technique or is it a risk of the job?
- pay and conditions? Is it fairly easy to find part time work?
Thanks all. I don’t want to enrol in the degree I’d i have no hope of ever being able to finish it or enter the field.
Posted 17 September 2019 - 10:44 AM
I’m a radiographer, not a sonographer, so bear that in mind but:
- you don’t need to be a radiographer but placements are in high demand and there’s lots of internal interest. You would probably find a position eventually but you might be waiting a while or have to travel a bit.
- the work is pretty high responsibility, working closely with radiologists and spending a lot of time in close, intimate contact with patients. It’s not just obstetric scans, some places won’t do them at all. You’ll likely be scanning lots of kidneys, livers, blood vessels, muscles, testes, gynae, etc.
- shoulder, neck, back and wrist issues are common due to the nature of the work. Prolonged pressure and awkward angles are the cause. Good technique helps but it’s an inherently risky task.
- pay and conditions are very good, in line with the high level of personal responsibility and skill required. Part time is easy, sonographers are in high demand.
- something else to consider could be doing echocardiography, ultrasound of the heart. I don’t know much about the pathway but know a couple of radiographers who have done that rather than standard ultrasound
Posted 17 September 2019 - 10:53 AM
I do know one sonographer and she was going through a hard time a few years ago because she diagnosed a lot of cancers.
And she was feeling quite negative about it for a while there.
It's not all fun baby scans sadly, it's tumours and birth defects or babies who stopped developing.
Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:06 AM
The ASA might also be a good source of info - https://www.sonographers.org/
The benefit of going in with a medical imaging background is exposure to the job - I can see it’s not for me. If I were you I would cold call/email every practice you can think of to see if you can spend a day or two shadowing a sonographer. It’s a big commitment to make if you don’t know what you’re getting in to. It would also allow you to chat to a sonographer.
Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:14 AM
Thanks for comments so far! I’ve had over 20 ultrasounds myself (in addition to pregnancy scans) due to previous medical issues so I know it’s not all about scanning healthy babies. I’m very interested in pathophysiology, disease processes etc and was keen to pursue medicine pre kids so I feel like my interests would align. I have experience of patient interaction in a medical setting in a previous job too.
I might try and ask about shadowing for a day PP. previously I was asking about trainee positions and no one was even willing to discuss it, just a flat out no even when I said i was looking at unpaid positions.
Posted 17 September 2019 - 12:30 PM
I tried to do shadowing to go back to my profession in public health as I’m a long time out and I’ve lost confidence. Couldn’t do it. They would take students as there was a formal arrangement with the education body that covered insurance but as an individual I was a no-go.
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