Concorde Blog - Jan 13, 2020
Every wondered what the average day of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (DMS) looks like? Most people associate sonography, which utilizes sound waves, with pregnancy because it's how expecting parents see a fetus in the womb.
However, a DMS has many other applications in which they help diagnosis and treat medical conditions in areas such as the abdomen, breast, heart, and blood vessels. If a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer (DMS) appeals to you, find out what a "day in the life" of two diagnostic medical sonographers might look like.
DMS Clinical Director with 18 years' experience
Marlo Duffy, our DMS Director of Clinical Education at Jacksonville and a diagnostic medical sonographer with 18 years of experience, says:
"Hospitals have very busy sonography departments. A typical day as a diagnostic medical sonographer on an evening shift is going to have you walking into an already bustling department. You must be ready to work and assist your colleagues as soon as you walk in the door.
Most days it would not be unusual for me to arrive at my second shift and grab the machine, a stack of orders, and head to the emergency department and up to the ICU to start scanning.
You may also have biopsies and drainages ordered that have not been completed, or you may need to head straight to the Special Procedures department to assist with a nephrostomy tube placement.
I think some of the most important qualities of a good sonographer are being able to work as a team, communicate efficiently, the ability to multi-task, and empathy. As healthcare professionals, we have to always remember that, although our day may be difficult, stressful, or busy, our patients are in the hospital. They are often very ill or going through what may be the most difficult times in their lives. Empathy and compassion go a long way when caring for patients."
DMS Program Director with 25 years' experience
Anita Jennings our DMS Program director at our Jacksonville campus and a diagnostic medical sonographer with 25 years of experience, says:
"Arriving at work 'on time' really means 15-30 minutes before your shift begins. The department needs to be opened up, machines turned on and in-patient schedules created before the first appointment. There is no easing into the workday because a hospital's ultrasound department is always busy.
A typical day is busy with routine exams like abdomen scans looking for gallstones or kidney stones, thyroid scans looking for nodules or carotid artery exams looking for narrowed or blocked arteries. However, there are many aspects to ultrasound that most people are unaware of.
The ultrasound department is utilized by physicians for many invasive procedures. We commonly assist physicians with biopsies of the liver, breast, thyroid and many other organs. We guide the physician's needle placement for fluid drainage of the chest and abdomen on a daily basis. And when the procedures are done, we are responsible for dressing the wound and giving the patient their post-procedure care instructions.
The operating room is another commonplace to find a sonographer. I have scanned an open skull brain to localize a tumor for removal, an open abdomen liver to map out the blood vessels for a partial removal and I have assisted in the implantation of radiation seeds for the treatment of prostate cancer. We are finding additional uses for an ultrasound every day. We are always learning, always growing."
DMS Typical duties
After learning about a "day in life" perspectives from a clinical director and a diagnostic medical sonography professional, your job duties may include: meeting with patients and explaining how the diagnostic medical sonography technology works, answering questions that patients may have and working side by side with many different types of physicians in many different locations.
While medical knowledge is crucial, being a strong communicator is just as important. Patients will be relying on you to make them feel safe and secure during ultrasound procedures. Furthermore, diagnostic medical sonographers must be good multi-taskers. You could be helping people with a diverse array of medical challenges while serving a wider community.
Outlook for DMS
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, the employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
At Concorde, we offer a Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) associate degree program at our Jacksonville, Tampa, and Kansas City campus locations, which focuses on preparing students for the Abdomen (AB), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) concentrations.
If you would like to inquire about our Digital Medical Sonography (DMS) associate degree program, please give us a call and our admissions team would be happy to get you started.