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What is a Sonographer?

What is a Sonographer?
Photo: What is a Sonographer?
Sonography (also called Ultrasonography) is a diagnostic medical procedure which utilises high frequency sounds waves transmitted through a transducer to create images of the organs, joints, blood vessels and soft tissue inside the body. 

A sonographer is a specialist health professional who performs ultrasound examinations to diagnose health problems and monitor conditions. Sonographers undertake direct patient care with patients who range from completely healthy to critically ill.  Sonographers may work in hospitals, physician’s offices or specialist imaging centres.

Sonographers can choose several areas of specialisation including:
• Obstetrics/Gynaecology – Assessment of pregnancy and the reproductive system. Some Sonographers choose to further specialize in fetal sonography.
• Cardiac – also called echocardiography, assesses the heart and related blood vessels.
• Vascular – assessment of blood flow throughout the body, particularly peripheral and abdominal blood vessels.
• Abdominal – assesses the abdominal structures including soft tissue, blood vessels and organs (liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas and urinary tract).
• Breast – also called mammography, used to assess abnormal structures in breast tissues.
• Musculoskeletal – assesses joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
• Neurological – assessment of the brain and spinal cord.

In addition to direct patient care Sonographers may also be required to:
• Provide written summaries of their findings;
• Collaborate with physicians/multidisciplinary health team;
• Undertake clerical duties such as maintaining patient records, patient scheduling and image archiving;
• Assume other supervisory/management roles

How do you become a Sonographer
To practice as an accredited sonographer in Australia, you must complete an ASAR recognised graduate diploma or masters course.

To gain entry into a graduate sonography course you must first complete a degree level health sciences course.  Applicants are usually expected to hold a degree in radiography or medical imaging however other disciplines such as medicine, nursing and other health sciences may be accepted.

During the postgraduate studies you will also be expected to undertake a clinical placement, usually a minimum of 3 days per week.

Once your studies are complete you can apply for admission to the ASAR (Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry).

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