Sonographer

Sonographer

On a sonographer apprenticeship course, you’ll help perform and report various diagnostic and screening ultrasound examinations.

In hospitals and clinics, a sonographer conducts diagnostic and screening ultrasound scans. Ultrasound uses highly specialised scanning equipment to create echoes of high-frequency sound waves that may be reflected off biological tissues. The echoes are then converted into an image called a sonogram. Ultrasound imaging gives an inside view of soft tissues and the body, enabling anatomy to be investigated and anomalies to be recognised.

As a sonographer, you will learn how to perform and report on a wide range of clinical ultrasound tests within a specialised practice area. Cancer detection, women’s health and pregnancy, abdominal, and vascular and musculoskeletal checks may be among them, depending on your scope of practice.

The job requires excellent hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and interpersonal abilities. You often report to advanced practitioners and may oversee healthcare assistants and clinical support staff.

What you’ll learn

On a sonographer apprenticeship course, you’ll learn to:

  • Accept and verify recommendations, and advise other healthcare experts on the utility and application of ultrasound testing to the needs of service consumers.
  • Use independent procedures to verify and authenticate service user identity and patient authorisation before ultrasonography operations.
  • Assess the patient’s clinical state before, during, and after ultrasound examinations, recognising changing signs, symptoms, and illness progression, and making suitable judgements about ultrasound appearances and the patient’s urgent care.
  • Use effective communication with the patient before and throughout the evaluation to determine their suitability for the operation.
  • Assess communication barriers and change communication to create inclusivity, connection, and rapport with all patients.
  • Acquire, interpret, and report on a broad range of ultrasound tests in their practice field with skill and accuracy.
  • Optimise the ultrasound equipment and settings to provide a high-quality scan.
  • Use spatial awareness and psychomotor ability while moving the patient’s body to generate accurate ultrasound images.
  • Distinguish between normal and abnormal appearances seen during the ultrasound examination and on the following ultrasound images, and summarise findings in a written report.
  • Examine ultrasound images’ clinical symptoms and technical validity concerning their diagnostic use.
  • Work both alone and as part of a multi-professional team.
  • Operate ultrasound equipment and related auxiliary equipment safely and accurately, and take the required precautions in the case of poor functioning and operation.
  • Apply the risk-benefit principle to ultrasonic safety problems to protect individual service users and the public.
  • Accept responsibility for making informed decisions while carrying out a broad range of clinical, technical, management, or scientific activities, and maintain correct records.
  • Recognise verbal and nonverbal cues that the patient may need emotional and psychological help.
  • Seek expert supervision to ensure help while dealing with potentially distressing and challenging circumstances.
  • Utilise various cognitive and practical ultrasonography talents to initiate solutions to ultrasound difficulties.
  • Manage risk, express safety concerns, and be open and honest when things go wrong.
  • Maintain accurate records of one’s work while also promoting and protecting the interests of patients, staff, and the broader public.
  • Maintain and protect patient confidentiality while following local and national safeguarding policies and standards.
  • Recognise and respond appropriately when information sharing is essential to safeguard ultrasound patients or the broader public.
  • Manage one’s workload and resources wisely, and practise as needed.
  • Integrate theoretical and practical knowledge to overcome problems.
  • Work within your expertise and skills, and delegate appropriately. Lead and manage per your level of responsibility.
  • Maintain and enhance your skills and knowledge.
  • Contribute to developing, planning, and implementing clinical audit and service improvement initiatives and review and develop personal clinical practice based on evidence-based research and clinical trial outcomes.
  • Collaborate with service consumers, other professionals, support personnel, and others to complete tasks as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Consider ultrasound practice and current evidence critically, and use critical thinking and problem-solving in professional decision-making.
  • Use conflict resolution strategies.
  • Keep accurate, complete, and intelligible records and other information under applicable laws, rules, and standards.
  • Consider and learn from clinical episodes and concerns, and communicate what you’ve discovered with your colleagues.
  • Use information and communication technologies for their profession.
  • Use basic life-support measures and be able to handle clinical circumstances safely.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • Five GCSEs, including English and maths, and three A-levels, including one science; or equivalent qualifications.
  • Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this before taking the end-point assessment.

Assessment methods

The End Point Assessment comprises two distinct assessment methods: 

  • Demonstration of practice with question-and-answer session 
  • Professional Discussion

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

Duration and level

  • Duration: 36 months
  • Level: 6 – Degree Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship standard

More information about the Level 6 Sonographer Apprenticeship standard can be found here.

Apprenticeship end point assessment

For more information about the End Point Assessment Process, please read the Institute of Apprenticeships’ information page

Updated on October 1, 2022

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