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Ultrasound tech: daily challenges and rewards

By Amelia Gray,

For ultrasound technician Karen Detommaso, having a career in demand is just one perk of the job.

"Most of all," she said, "I enjoy helping people find answers as to what medical problems they are suffering from so they can get the proper treatment, recover, and no longer be ill or in pain."

One technologist's path through ultrasound technician school

Detommaso, who graduated from New York University's Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, found that meeting ultrasound technician requirements for education was a journey in itself. She trained in all aspects of the body, including general sonography, echocardiography and OB/GYN. She finished her rotation with musculoskeletal radiology as the last phase of ultrasound training.

"Learning about the body and pathology is very interesting to me and my job allows me to learn new things all the time," she said. "I also like that the sonographic images I take are, in essence, 'eyes' into the body for the doctors and are vitally important."

A day in the life of an ultrasound technologist

On a typical day at the hospital in New York City where she works, Detommaso oversees the daily tasks and procedures of the ultrasound department, including the type of exams for the day, scheduling, working with doctor offices and more. She scans patients using musculoskeletal, general or vascular technologies.

In addition, she sets up interventional radiological procedures for radiologists, for example:

  • Aspirations--where tissue or fluid is withdrawn from the body
  • Autologous procedures, where one patient is both the donor and the recipient for a transplant or injection
  • Biopsies--where tissue or fluid is removed for examination
  • Cryoablations, which use extreme cold to freeze and destroy diseased tissue
  • Injections
  • Platelet Rich Plasma--PRP--treatment

Beyond her daily job duties, Detommaso assists NYU ultrasound students who are learning musculoskeletal ultrasound during their own clinical rotation work, helping the next generation of medical sonographers to prepare for a field that relies on evolving technology.

Exploring ultrasound technician schools is the first step in preparing for this career. Program-accredited schools may offer rotation options like the one Detommaso experienced, giving students a hands-on education in a health care career that offers unique challenges and rewards.