All In A Day's Work: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Article by: NANCY CROTTI , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: March 25, 2009 - 4:42 PM

Stephanie Rhody, a registered diagnostic medical sonographer with Park Nicollet Health Services, talks about her job. She discusses why she became a sonographer, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture

Q: What's a typical workday like for you?

A: My schedule depends on whether I'm working in the radiology department at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park or at one of Park Nicollet's clinics. I perform ultrasound scans on pregnant women, abdominal organs, veins and arteries, creating images for radiologists to read and make a diagnosis. I also work on ultrasound-guided procedures such as biopsies and fluid drains.

Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

A: Many of the hospital patients must have some kind of diagnostic examination. We don't use radiation, so it's safe and easy on the patient.

Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

A: I have a lot of patient contact during exams, which can last from 10 minutes to more than an hour. I also interact with several radiologists, and with other sonographers.

Q: Why did you become a diagnostic medical sonographer?

A: I have a bachelor's degree in chemistry and wasn't fulfilled in my previous career. I did a lot of research in healthcare, decided I wanted to help people and stumbled on sonography, which is based on physics. It only requires two years of school and the pay is great. There is a huge demand and a lot of flexibility.

Q: What do you like about your work?

A: There's always an opportunity to learn and a lot of teamwork. I love trying to figure things out. Every case is different and there has to be a lot of trust between the sonographer and the radiologists. I like that responsibility. I also get to know my patients and enjoy the variety of exams that I do. I enjoy the flexibility, helping others and making a difference in their lives.

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