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Sonographers Share Their Best Advice for Taking Call

Depending on your facility, chances are you’ve experienced the struggles of taking call.

Like that time, you were called in for a STAT abdomen at 2 am after the CT already showed gallstones.

While you may have a love-hate relationship with taking call, approximately 40% of facilities require sonographers to take call during nights, weekends, and holidays to help meet staffing needs.

So we posed the question to sonographers across the country, what is your best advice for taking call? Here are their answers:

Get Enough Sleep

One of the most important things to do when you are on call is to get enough sleep. Rachel says she never sleeps well on call so she always goes to bed early, especially if she works the next day.

Prepare Before Call Starts

Sonographers prepare for call in a lot of different ways. Since you never know when you’re going to be called in for, or for how long, you should always shower and eat before your call starts. Several sonographers suggested laying out your clothes, having a snack packed, and a water bottle ready to go so you can be out the door quickly. Lisa also suggests filling up your tank before call, because the last thing you want to be doing at 2 am is getting gas.

Have Childcare Set Up

If you are a single parent of young children, make sure you always have childcare lined up when on call. Have the individual stay at your house on nights you are on call so you don’t have to wake your child. In most cases, you child will never know you are gone but someone will be there in case of emergencies.

Choose a Specific Call Ringtone

Setting a specific call ring tone, so you always know when you are getting called in, was the most popular advice we received. Lauren likes to use the loudest, most annoying ring tone for call to ensure she always wakes up when she receives a call. Although Jamie advises not to use your favorite song/sound because you will grow to loath it.

No matter what ring tone you choose, be sure to do a test run and have someone call you between 2-4 am to see if it wakes you.

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Don’t Dread Hearing Your Phone Ring

Pause, deep breathe and answer with a smile in your voice. “Being crabby won’t change the fact that you have to go in,” says Stacey.

Prepare Before Seeing the Patient

Ashley says she always looks up the patient history, previous exams, and lab results before going to do a study. This can help save time and unnecessary questions.

Let Call be an Opportunity to Learn

Taking call provides a unique educational opportunity to learn. While most studies will be mundane, there will be an occasional adrenaline-rushing scan that will make you glad you chose to become a sonographer.

Don’t Let Call Control Your Life

It can be difficult to juggle work and family expectations during call, but don’t let call control your life. Elizabeth says, “embrace the good in it, like going to bed early, taking naps during the day, not having to cook, and not having to go somewhere you don’t want.”

Taking call is a different experience for everyone. Some sonographers love taking call while others will do anything to avoid call. If you feel like your mental health is on the decline due to having to taking call, take the time to address why and try using the above advice to improve your call experience.

Do you have different advice for taking call? We’d love to hear it.

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