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How Life for Sonographers Can Be Stressful

July 31, 2019 0 Comments

Choosing a career as a Sonographer can generally be a great choice. The pay can be exceptionally good, there are plenty of jobs available across Australia and the training is not as long as some of the other medical fields.

But there are also other aspects of the work that may not always keep you on the sunny side. If you know these in advance, you can work with the pitfalls and anticipate the areas for improvement.

Stressful Conditions For Sonographers

Working conditions for Sonographers

Implications of Ultrasounds for pregnant patients


Working conditions for Sonographers

Some jobs have more physical demands for their employees than others. And for Sonographers, their job is one of those.

Neck and back problems can occur if you do not focus on good posture and resting and some exercising. This is due to the long-term risks of repetitive strain injuries.

If you are hunched and bent over in awkward angles, firmly pressing the ultrasound equipment on the parts of the patients’ body being examined every day for periods of time? Pinched nerves and potentially tendonitis can be side effects. Your posture and general body strength will help you to avoid injuries.

And aside from the repetitive tasks with injury risks, there are also other physical demands.

Generally, Sonographers can be on their feet for large portions of their working days. This can put strains on your ankles but can also be alleviated with comfortable shoes and some exercising.

On top of standing a lot, depending on your workplace Sonographers will also need to move their ultrasound machine regularly from patient to patient. This is regardless of going through your patients on a normal working day or in emergency situations where you will also be called.

And if one of those patients is limited with moving around themselves? The Sonographer will help and move them into the position they need to be for the ultrasound.

The pace at which you need to work will also depend on the workplace. Shift work and sharing of evening and weekend shifts with senior colleagues can happen. So can time constraints per ultrasound.

With this in mind, Sonographers also need to be good at direct contact with their patients. And this is where positive and negative Implications for the patients can arise that will also impact the Sonographers. Especially the negative implications for those that have not been trained enough and previously exposed to delivering bad news.

Pregnant Woman Stomach With Baby Projected

Implications of Ultrasounds for pregnant patients

Ultrasounds are not always entirely precise and conclusive. Sometimes they are, but either way, it can lead to communication issues between the Sonographer and patient.

When are they not always precise?

Gender of the baby: Sometimes the baby is in a difficult position for the ultrasound shot to be assessed, other times the position of the placenta can get in the way or the thickness of the mother’s abdominal wall.

Due Date: Ultrasounds can be accurate to within 3 to 5 days of the conception date and generally this accuracy becomes better for Ultrasounds done in the earlier stages.

Limbs: Sometimes when the ultrasound is done in the first trimester the baby might create the impression there is a limb missing, but this can change in the second trimester and requires further examining.

Central Nervous Systems Issues: There are several abnormalities at stake but for the nervous system it can be hard to detect any on the ultrasound until as late as around the 30-weeks gestation.

And additionally, it can be important to note that pregnant women are encouraged to drink plenty of water and to go into their ultrasound with a full bladder. A full bladder enables the Sonographer to see the uterus on the ultrasound instead of being hidden behind the bowel which can delay the results.

In other cases, when can the ultrasounds be precise and conclusive?

Amniotic Fluid: This is the fluid that cushions the fetus and helps with the development of muscles, lungs and the digestive system and Sonographers measure whether the fluid level is too low or too high throughout the pregnancy.

Chromosome and Structural Abnormalities: To help catch these early, a Nuchal Translucency ultrasound can be done and it is performed during a specific timeframe in the pregnancy to determine any abnormalities for further examination.

Heart Defects: Sonographers can spot any abnormalities with the functioning of the heart, and depending on the type of abnormality there are multiple additional tests that can be done.

Neural Tube Defects: This is where ultrasound can show any deformities in the Spine or Skull of the baby to enable early detection.

Kidney and Urinary Defects: Ultrasounds can spot whether there is a blockage in the flow of urine, whether any valve mechanisms are not working properly or even worse, whether a kidney has any major defects that will impact its functioning.

And keep in mind, we have only scratched the surface here of the potentially bad news pregnant patients may be told after their ultrasounds. Scans are also used in other areas of medicine.

Love Heart Sign With Family Inside

Sonographers need to be supported to manage any time constraints and stress levels. This can severely impact how they deal with the news to their patients and how they support them through it with the right additional examinations and referrals to other doctors. A stressed Sonographer can lead to a stressed patient.

How are you managing your stress at work? And are you successfully using any methods of discussing bad news with your patients to minimize hardships? We would love to find out more.

At Gorilla Jobs we can put you in touch with a large network of medical imaging providers looking for qualified and friendly Sonographers, Radiologists and Radiographers. Speak to our Senior Consultant Judith Butcher and find out whether you need any career and recruitment advice to help you navigate through your options.

This week’s Gorilla Update also includes news for our Doctors and Pharmacy divisions. We also have more useful information and tips on our Blogs page.

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