Ultrasound: Much more than looking at babies

By: Amanda Hogan,
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Director/Instructor

Ultrasound: The medical imaging modality that looks at babies all day. Right? Most people think of ultrasound and they think of babies. This is far from the truth. Sonographers look at every organ from your head to your toe, blood vessels, and even muscles. Graduates from Bellin College learn abdominal, vascular, and obstetric/gynecological techniques and can take their registry boards in each specialty. Regardless of the types of ultrasounds done, sonographers around the world are facing the same issues: work-related injuries.

A study by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (2000) reported that 90 percent of sonographers scan in pain and one in five will sustain a career-ending injury. With those eye-opening statistics, what is Bellin College doing to tackle this issue? Sonography students are taught proper protocols and practice with ergonomic tools to reduce the incidence of injury. Students are heavily graded on their ergonomic practices in clinical rotations. Furthermore, sonography coursework incorporates an exercise class taught by a licensed athletic trainer to stretch and strengthen the muscles that are used daily. Sonography students can voluntarily participate in a research study, approved by the Bellin Health Institutional Review Board, that measures their mobility and strength before, during, and after the ergonomic coursework is completed. The goal of the research study is to prove that our unique sonography exercise class will reduce injuries in the workforce and then publish our findings to help our fellow sonographers in the field. 

“Being taller I feel myself being hunched over every day at clinical. Once I leave clinical I can definitely feel pain in my upper back. After going through the exercise class at night, in just a few minutes, my back pain is relieved.”

-Josh Salm, BSDMS Class of 2019

A sonography tailored exercise class, bachelor’s degree, and certifications in abdomen, obstetric/gynecology, and vascular make the diagnostic medical sonography program at Bellin College unique. A bachelor’s degree will push graduates into further career advancement opportunities. Additionally, students walk out the doors knowing how to safely practice within their field.

There is much more to the ultrasound career than just looking at babies all day. Sonographers are the eyes of the Radiologists, searching for any cause of illness in our patients. There are few careers as rewarding as a diagnostic medical sonographer. Using the ergonomic principles taught at Bellin College, the sonography students will have a fulfilling, life-long career. 

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