The role of a cardiac sonographerAugust 8, 2016
Traditionally sonograms were used to determine the health and well-being of a foetus in the womb. Huge advancements in this field over recent years have expanded the scope of sonograms dramatically and they are now being used in increasingly more fields, one of which is cardiology.
The new application of this time-honoured technology has led to the creation of an exciting new career in the medical field, that of a cardiac sonographer or echocardiographer.
Cardiac sonographers specialise in using non-invasive equipment to assist in diagnosing and treating of heart and blood vessel conditions.
These specialists perform ultrasound imaging or echocardiograms to assess different features of the heart, such as size of the chambers, blood flow and valve function. This crucial test produces a map of the human heart, which helps the physician determine in intricate detail the status, condition and overall function of a patient’s heart at any given time.
While echocardiographers play an irreplaceable role in the treatment of any heart patient, they do not diagnose heart disease. Their specialty lies in collecting all results generated from the sonogram test and delivering them to the patient’s cardiologist. This helps the cardiologist to make an informed diagnosis and to develop an appropriate treatment plan to ensure sustained improved heart health.
Other duties may include explaining procedures to patients, maintaining ultrasound equipment and scheduling appointments.
Education and training to become a cardiac sonographer in Australia
To practise as a cardiac sonographer in Australia you must first obtain a post-graduate Diploma of Medical Ultrasound.
In order to gain entry to an accredited post-graduate diploma course, you must have attained an undergraduate degree in applied science or its equivalent. Having an undergraduate degree specific to nuclear medicine technology, medical radiation technology or radiotherapy will give you the edge over other applicants. However other science degrees in biomedical science, physiotherapy and nursing are also an asset if you are considering applying to a medical ultrasound programme.
Classes in this degree program include topics such as cardiac anatomy, ECG interpretation, cardiovascular concepts, stress echoes, advanced echo procedures, Doppler physics and medical terminology. Lab learning includes how to develop scans and how to do thorough analyses and generate acute reports based on the ultrasound findings.
Salary and job potential
The average annual salary range for a cardiac sonographer is about AU$ 50,000 to AU$ 83,212. Your exact earnings will depend on your years of experience, type of healthcare establishment and geographic location.
There is a huge and ever-growing demand for medical professionals who specialise in the maintenance of heart health. This is an excellent specialty to consider if you are looking for a career that allows you to combine your passion for technology with your love for helping people. The promising job prospects and higher than average salaries are added bonuses.
The ideal candidate for this career has outstanding communication skills in order to convey scientific information to doctors, as well as a good bedside manner for dealing with patients.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.