Hi guys! I posted an IG asking what topics you wanted to hear about first, and this was the most popular! It is slightly difficult to share what my day-to-day looks like because 1. its never the same, and 2. I have to stay within HIPAA and obviously maintain patient privacy. So, those things considered, I am going to do my best to give you a look into a day to day life of a sonographer the best I can!
As I’ve explained before, I work in an outpatient setting, therefore I actually have scheduled patients, unlike a hospital, where your orders are coming in at any time from all different floors and you don’t really have a “schedule” — you’ve just got many places to be as quick as you can! I work 4 ten hour shifts. I have 2 fifteen minute breaks (if I’m not running behind on patients) and a 30 minute lunch. I work around 6:45-5:15 for four days and have one day off during the week.
I typically see anywhere from 12-18 patients a day, depending on how long each exam is. If the exams are shorter, 30 minute exams, I can see more patients. If the exams are longer, 45 min-1hr exams, I’ll see less patients because the ones I have take more time.
I get in a few minutes before I clock in and immediately begin organizing my worksheets (some places use electronic worksheets, we still do written worksheets at my site) for the day. I put my worksheets in order of what exams I’ll be doing. I like to go through each patient’s chart and look for prior exams, their diagnosis/symptoms, and history. I like to put little sticky notes on their worksheet with this information so I know what to expect when I get to them. Their prior exam’s liver measurement, measurements of a stone or a mass, etc. I do this so that I know roughly what my measurements should be / how much the area in question has changed.
My first patient is scheduled for 6:45, so immediately after I clock in. I bring them back to my room from the waiting room and ask them any questions I need more information on before starting the exam, ie: symptoms, relevant medications, why we’re following up, or any other information I need that wasn’t in the patient’s folder. I then begin the exam, which takes anywhere from 30 mins to an hour depending on what exam it is. Abdomens, Renals, Scrotals, Thyroids, Soft Tissues, Hernias, Pelvic TA’s are 30 minutes. TA + TV’s , Bilateral Venous, First Trimester OB’s are 45 minutes. Arterials are an hour. Venous Insufficiencies and OB Anatomies are an hour and a half, etc. From here, the rest of my day is basically this process over & over: get the patient, get their information, scan them, write it up, clean up the room, scan in the paperwork, grab the next patient. Keep in mind, the exams one center does varies from the next depending on what the techs are certified in/can perform. Obviously the types of exams change day to day, but here’s a hypothetical, typical day for me:
6:40 – Organize paperwork for the day
6:45 – Clock in
6:45 – 7:15 : Abdomen
7:15 – 7:45: Abdomen
7:45 – 8:15: Renal & Bladder
8:15 – 8:45: Thyroid
8:45 – 9:00: fifteen minute break — check emails, grab a quick snack + coffee (if all my patients have shown up on time that morning and i actually get to take a break….😂)
9:00 – 9:45: Bilateral Lower Extremity Venous
9:45 – 10:30: Pelvic TA + TV
10:30 – 11:00: Abdomen
11:00 – 11:30 AM: Lunch!
11:30 – 1:00: OB Fetal Anatomy
1:00 – 2:00: Lower Extremity Arterial
2:00 – 2:45: First Trimester OB
2:45-3:00PM: Fifteen minute break
3:00-3:45: Bilateral Lower Extremity Venous
3:45 – 4:15: Renal & Bladder
4:15 – 4:45: Unilateral Lower Ext. Venous
4:45-5:15: Renal & Bladder
5:15: Clean up room, prep for next day, stock up linens, gel, etc.
SO, that’s about what a typical day looks like for me, ten hours a day, four days a week. Everyday’s exams are different and my breaks are not always able to be taken fully because I am writing up exams, prepping for the next, etc. I hope this was a helpful blogpost for any of you students out there wondering what a typical day is like in outpatient 🙂 Let me know what else you want to hear about in the “leave a reply” box below!