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 (http://jobcorps.dol.gov/). 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.
• 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, http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov/) 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.