7 Tips for Newly Accepted Sonography Students from a Seasoned Sonographer
Getting accepted into an ultrasound program is not an easy feat, so let us begin by saying CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve chosen an extremely fulfilling and rewarding career path.
As you embark on what may be the toughest years of your life, we’ve compiled advice from seasoned sonographers on how to not only survive your ultrasound program but excel at it. Join us as we review seven tips for newly accepted sonography students.
Brush Up on Anatomy & Physiology
Sonography students are expected to have a solid A&P foundation before entering a sonography program. Your courses will be fast and intense, and there won’t be time to reteach information, so make sure to brush up on anatomy and physiology before your classes start. It is ok if you aren’t 100% confident with A&P at the beginning of your program, as you start scanning and looking at anatomy constantly, it will become easier to remember.
Sonographer Tip: There are coloring workbooks available for A&P that can help enhance your knowledge and help you retain information.
Have a Solid Support System
Whether it is friends, family, or classmates, it is important to have people in your life who can provide emotional and practical support as you go through your ultrasound program. You will spend more time with your classmates than you do with your own family for the duration of your program. It is good to bond with at least one person in your program, as you will need a study buddy.
Sonographer Tip: Set up a group chat or Facebook group with your classmates to provide moral support and to remind each other of upcoming assignments.
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Make Time for Study Breaks
Studying can be a sport, so make sure you allow time for breaks. You won’t learn anything after staring at a textbook or flashcards for 6 straight hours. When studying, try to really understand the concepts, rather than just memorize them. If you rely on memorization, it will make it even harder to pass your boards later on.
Sonographer Tip: Set a goal to study certain topics for 4-5 hours a week. Do this for each topic and give yourself more or less time depending on the topics you feel need more attention. Do not study yourself to death.
Take Care of Your Body
Be committed to taking care of your body, even while you are in school. An astonishing 75% to 90% of sonographers scan in pain. Try not to be one of them. Schedule regular massage and chiropractor appointments and be sure to practice yoga and do strength training. It will help with the longevity of your career.
If your shoulders begin to hurt while scanning, try using an ergonomic chair. Being able to rest your elbows on the “wing” will take a lot of stress off your shoulders.
Sonographer Tip: Don’t feel the need to put yourself in awkward positions to get the “perfect” image, you will only end up hurting yourself.
Scan as Much as You Can
All the bookwork in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to scan. Students who have more hands-on experience and scan every chance they get end up performing much better in sonography programs than those with less scan time. If there is open lab time, make sure to utilize it – that is how you will refine your skills.
Sonographer Tip: Don’t worry if you aren’t great at scanning at first. Being good takes time, and you should expect to be bad at scanning for a while. There will be tears in sonography school, and that is ok. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better.
Think of Clinicals as a Job Interview
Show your clinical site that you are willing to learn if they’ll help you. This means you can’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you feel stupid for not knowing, and always be professional. If you have downtime, try to help with the department flow – volunteer to help restock linens, flip rooms for sonographers, etc. If you prove yourself during clinicals, you will have a better chance of having a job lined up once you graduate.
Sonographer Tip: During clinicals, have a pocket notebook handy and write down tips, tricks, and other information the sonographer you are learning from tells you. Not only will this show that you are listening, but it will also be a great point of reference throughout your clinical time and even after graduation.
Never Give Up
There are going to be times during your program when you feel discouraged and want to give up. It is a lot of information thrown at you in a short amount of time. Just know that it is only temporary, and a career in sonography is extremely rewarding. Do your best to stay positive and always keep fighting.
Sonographer Tip: Sonographers are resilient. It has taken many great techs several times to pass their registries, but they never gave up. You can only truly fail when you quit trying.
Good luck, and we are sure you will do great!
Making Your Job Easier with EcoVue
As a manufacturer of ultrasound gel, we understand the important role that sonographers play in diagnosing patients, which is why we are committed to helping make your job easier. EcoVue Ultrasound Gel has a 99% natural formulation that is great for patients and helps extend the life of equipment. We offer a variety of single and multi-use options in sterile and non-sterile selections, giving you the power to choose the right amount of gel in the right viscosity for every procedure, every time.