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Career Profile: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer - Diane Johnson

Career Profile: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer - Diane Johnson

Diane Johnson, RDMS, Lead Sonographer, Diagnotistic Radiology Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

I chose this career because…

I chose to become a sonographer because it gave me a new challenge in my medical career. After completing high school, I knew I wanted to work in the medical field. I attended the medical technology program at Morgan State University. After three years, I decided that I did not care for work in the laboratory and preferred working directly with people. I considered becoming a paramedic, or entering the Job Corps ( Ultimately, I came home to Washington D.C. and entered the radiology program at the University of the District of Columbia. I completed the required courses and the one-year clinical training in local hospitals.

My first job was at the Alexandria Hospital. I then worked at the National Naval Medical Center as a civilian employed in x-ray technology. Eventually, I wanted a change and pursed training to become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Pennsylvania. After completing my certification, I came to work at the NIH.

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College Education
• Medical Technician program, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (completion of 3 years)
• Associate in Applied Science, Medical Radiology, X-Ray Technician Certification, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.

My typical work day involves…

My typical workday involves assisting physicians in the protocols (or clinical research studies, that bring patients to the NIH for treatment.

Medical sonographery tasks:

• Perform abdominal scans and gynecological exams
• Conduct vascular studies, studying the veins and arteries, looking for stenosis (a narrowing or constriction of the diameter of a bodily passage or orifice)
• Assist our surgeons with procedures such as locating tumors in the brain, liver, and other areas in the body using color flow Doppler. In this process, a water-soluble gel is placed on the transducer (a handheld device that directs the high-frequency sound waves to the artery or vein being tested) and the skin over the veins of the extremity being tested. There is a “swishing” sound on the Doppler if the venous (vein) system is normal. An untrasound image is produced on the computer screen.

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