While very rewarding, diagnostic medical sonography can be a demanding career. With varied and long hours, time spent on your feet each day, and patients that can be highly anxious – there are many stressors to navigate.
When the number of completed scans expected increases, and there is too little time to spend with patients, sonographers can experience chronic stress that, when unrelieved and unmitigated, causes career burnout. This can be difficult to overcome and affect the quality of patient care provided.
“Decreasing burnout by decreasing the number of chronic stressors in the workplace should improve the quality of scanning examinations, increase the quality of patient care, improve employee satisfaction, restore employee commitment and professional values, and decrease absenteeism and turnover.” (Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography)
We’ve compiled these tips and advice from teachers, sonographers, and industry influencers to help sonographers, both new and experienced, remain confident and focused every day and for each ultrasound. Read on for tips for sonographers:
Each interaction you have matters, and everyone in the medical field needs to have good communication skills.
Patients experience a range of emotions, and it can be difficult to navigate questions and anxiety regarding their exam. Talking points can be worked into the protocols within your department, such as explaining to an expectant mother that you need to perform your study and measurements and then you will show her the baby. By setting expectations for the scan up front and practicing how to communicate effectively and while maintaining composure and positivity, you will have a better understanding of how to handle each situation with effective boundaries and support.
As a sonographer, you should be able to communicate calmly and clearly with your patients, while also communicating concisely and professionally with your peers, teammates, and physicians. Practice being the best communicator you can be, and make sure to be fully present and engaged while showing empathy for your patients.
The better your communications skills become, the more success and fulfillment you’ll find in your daily interactions.
Know Your Technology
At each ultrasound appointment you have that one opportunity to get the best images you can. You need to know your technology and knobology backwards and forwards, so you make the most of your time to observe and capture the images you need.
If you find yourself having issues or trouble with any of the systems you use, make sure to advocate for yourself and leverage your technology provider’s resources to solve issues swiftly and effectively. If you feel at any time that you need more technical support or are experiencing issues, don’t hesitate to ask for the training and assistance that will help you gain more confidence in your technology.
The more you know and trust your technology, the more you can confidently focus on patient care.
Practice Self-Care and Work-Life Balance
To show up fully at your workplace, with confidence, starts with how you take care of yourself throughout your daily routine. Sonography can be hectic, with busy days and lots of hours on your feet. Make time to check in with yourself so you can be prepared for the responsibilities of each day:
- Seek support to vent your challenges and frustrations, such as a support group or the buddy system.
- Get as much rest as you can. Practice giving your body a break, even for short periods of time…don’t let that pumpkin spice latte go cold!
- Invest in your emotional well-being. Addressing your mental health can go a long way in alleviating stress.
- Find a mentor. A trusted advisor can help guide you through important career decisions
The better you take care of yourself, the better you can care for your patients.
Always Keep Learning
As a sonographer, you’re never done learning – even after you graduate. Not only is medicine constantly evolving, but medical imaging is advancing very fast as well. New and upgraded equipment, better techniques, and innovative best practices come each year.
There is always room to grow, and you can stay ahead of the curve and remain confident in your knowledge and abilities by immersing yourself in consistent and dedicated learning.
There are many professional organizations and resources available, such as this helpful list from the American Registry from Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Remain committed to your continuing education, and you’ll find continued success as a knowledgeable, prepared sonographer.
To learn how the right software can help sonographers work more efficiently, schedule a demo.