Vascular Sonographer Job Description
Vascular sonographers are responsible for imaging patients’ vascular systems using specialized medical equipment to identify signs of obstruction or disease. They are technically minded and work well with people. This is an entry-level position that requires medical skills and knowledge. Vascular sonographers work in hospitals or clinics. Those who work in hospitals may be required to work anytime during the day or night, since hospitals are open 24/7. However, those who work in clinics typically work traditional nine-to-five office hours. Vascular sonographers report directly to physicians.
Vascular Sonographer Duties and Responsibilities
While a vascular sonographer’s day-to-day responsibilities are determined by their hospital or clinic, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Schedule Patients for Imaging
Vascular sonographers are responsible for organizing and managing the hospital or clinic’s imaging schedule. They coordinate directly with patients to arrange imaging appointments that work with both the physician’s and the patient’s schedule.
Operate Ultrasound Machine
During the appointment, vascular sonographers operate the ultrasound imaging machines to view a patient’s blood vessels. They take the necessary amount of time to identify any potential problems in the patient’s vascular system, paying close attention throughout the whole process.
Report on Imaging Findings
If vascular sonographers identify any potential problems during the imaging appointment, they report their findings directly to their managing physician. In some cases, vascular sonographers may need to communicate potential findings, even if they aren’t sure of what they’re seeing.
Maintain Imaging Equipment
Vascular sonographers properly care for the ultrasound machines they operate daily. If they experience any problems with their imaging equipment, they’re responsible for either fixing it or reporting the problem to the manufacturer for repair.
Answer Patient Questions and Concerns
Since vascular sonographers work directly with patients, they are responsible for answering their questions and addressing their concerns. They present proper bedside manners so patients feel as comfortable as possible during the whole process.
Vascular Sonographer Skills and Qualifications
Vascular sonographers pay close attention to details and know how to act on their instincts when it comes to patient health. While most employers look for candidates who have at least a year of experience, they tend to prefer candidates who have the appropriate education and certifications in medical imaging. Successful vascular sonographer candidates also possess and demonstrate the following qualifications and related skills:
- Medical imaging experience – successful vascular sonographers have previous experience working directly with medical imaging equipment. This most commonly means experience with ultrasound machines, but experience with other kinds of imaging technology is also relevant
- Hand-eye coordination – vascular sonographers need good hand-eye coordination to properly operate the ultrasound machine and get a good look at the patient’s veins
- Patient management – vascular sonographers work directly with patients on a daily basis and need to be able to manage their fears and expectations appropriately. This skill also includes managing patient appointments
- Communication skills – communication skills are essential for vascular sonographers. They work with both patients and physicians to communicate their findings, which means they must adjust their mode of communication depending on who they are talking to
- Critical thinking – vascular sonographers use critical thinking skills to distinguish problems that need further diagnosis from the managing physician from non-issues that don’t need further diagnosis
Tools of the Trade
Vascular sonographers commonly use the following tools in their daily workflow:
- Medical imaging equipment (primarily ultrasound machines)
- Electronic medical records software (drchrono EHR, NueHD, CareCloud Charts)
Vascular Sonographer Education and Training
Successful vascular sonographers possess at least an associate’s degree in a medical imaging field. However, many employers require their vascular sonographers to possess a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields. In most states, vascular sonographers also need to be properly certified and licensed by the appropriate state or national organizations. These requirements can vary depending on your location, so make sure you know which certifications and licenses you need before applying.
Vascular sonographers often undergo job-specific training once hired. This on-the-job training helps candidates learn their employer’s specific equipment and group of patients.
Vascular Sonographer Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), vascular sonographers fall under the broader category of diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians. Employees in this category make an average of $65,000 per year. Those with more experience and specialization can make $90,000 per year, while those just starting out make around $30,000 per year.
The BLS reports that vascular sonographers can expect a huge amount of growth over the next 10 years. Due to the rising age of the baby-boomer generation, the need for vascular sonographers will only continue to grow.
Read through some of these valuable and helpful resources to learn more about the vascular sonographer role:
Health Imaging – this blog provides a ton of helpful information about the world of medical imaging. It covers topics on new technology and medical studies. It also covers topics that address the ways vascular sonographers and other medical imaging specialists are bringing innovation to the industry
Medical Imaging Network – this LinkedIn group is made up of nearly 40,000 medical imaging professionals. The aim of this group is to create networking and training opportunities for both experienced and new vascular sonographers. The group is open to anyone who wants to join
Ferri’s Best Test: A Practical Guide to Clinical Laboratory Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging – this book is a simple pocket-sized guide to everything related to diagnostic imaging. It includes a lot of helpful information for both professionals and newbies alike, including comparison tables and diagnostic test options for more than 200 diseases
The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging – this textbook is a critically acclaimed book that both students and professionals use. It covers a huge amount of information about everything related to medical imaging, including the science behind the process
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