What Are Sonographer Skills? (Definition and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sonographers work in the healthcare industry using imaging equipment to diagnose or assess patients. They use a mix of hard and soft skills to work with patients and their medical team effectively. Learning about these skills can help you improve and develop them if you're interested in becoming a sonographer. In this article, we explain what these skills are, give you examples of them, discuss how to improve them and tell you how to highlight these skills in the workplace and in your resume, cover letter and job interview.

What are sonographer skills?

Sonographer skills are the technical and soft skills that sonographers use to excel in their careers. The job of a sonographer involves working with patients to perform medical imaging procedures. In this profession, it's important to combine good interpersonal skills, effective work habits and technical knowledge to operate imaging equipment. By understanding what these skills are and how they contribute to workplace success for sonographers, you can develop these abilities for your career.

Related: How to Become a Sonographer in 5 Steps

5 examples of sonographer skills

Sonographers use a variety of skills to perform technical tasks and interact with their patients effectively. Here are some examples of skills sonographers may have:

1. Physical ability

The job of a sonographer requires some physical abilities. Many sonographers spend much of their workday on their feet. They may lift or position patients throughout an imaging session, so having the strength and endurance to manoeuvre patients is important. Sonographers also need good hand-eye coordination for some imaging techniques. For example, to perform an ultrasound, the sonographer positions the probe correctly so they can produce a clear image of the patient's internal organs.

2. Technical competency

Sonographers effectively use a variety of specialised medical imaging equipment. Patients and physicians depend on accurate medical images to diagnose abnormalities, assess treatment options and evaluate the progress of healing injuries and illnesses. Therefore, it's important for sonographers to be well trained in the medical equipment they use so they can ensure patients receive the care they need.

3. Attention to detail

Sonographers use their attention to detail to create and evaluate medical images. They use the right equipment to capture accurate images of internal body structures. After producing images, they accurately label, organise and file them so they're easy to access and identify. In some cases, sonographers work with physicians to analyse the imaging results. They use their attention to detail to identify unhealthy tissues, notice minor fractures in bones and observe abnormalities in tissue or bone development.

4. Communication

Excellent communication skills are important for sonographers, who spend much of their workday interacting with patients and other members of the health care team. Depending on their employment setting, these team members can include other sonographers, physicians, nurses, insurance providers, technicians and other medical specialists. When working with these diverse groups, sonographers use their communication skills to adjust their communication style to meet the needs of different audiences. For example, the way they explain a procedure to a child patient may differ from how they would speak with a physician.

In addition to having good verbal communication skills, sonographers use non-verbal skills like body language and writing. They use body language, like a relaxed posture and visual cues, like nodding, to show compassion and attentiveness to their patients. They may also use their writing skills to update patient records and respond to emails.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills relate to an individual's ability to make connections with others. These include skills involve communication, relationship building, teamwork, leadership and motivation. Sonographers often work with patients who may experience pain or distress and interpersonal skills can help them calm patients so they can work effectively with them. To work well with patients, sonographers establish trusting relationships that help their patients communicate their questions and concerns so they can address them. Additionally, sonographers use their interpersonal skills when working with other members of a health care team.

How to improve your sonographer skills

If you want to develop or improve your specific sonography skills, here are some ways you can do so:

1. Take volunteer opportunities

One way to develop and improve any skill is to volunteer. Volunteering helps you contribute to the community and allows you to practise specific skills, like communication. Look for opportunities in your area that allow you to meet and interact with a variety of people as you may do so daily as a sonographer.

2. Enrol in classes or training

To develop more technical skills, you may need additional training. You can find classes to help you develop soft skills, such as leadership, organisation and interpersonal skills. You may also find further sonography or medical training. If you're already working as a sonographer, talk to your manager about training opportunities you can pursue. Another type of training that may be useful is physical training. As a sonographer, you may spend a lot of time standing or walking around a medical institution and physical training can help, so you're not tired at work.

3. Practise self-care

Working in healthcare can be emotionally challenging, so it's important you take care of your mental well-being. Create a self-care routine filled with activities you enjoy that make you feel good. For example, taking a bath in the evening, reading a book or going for a walk with your friends. This can help you avoid burnout and reduce stress so you can enjoy a long and fulfilling career.

Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care While Working From Home

4. Find a professional mentor

Finding a mentor who's an expert in your field can help you learn new skills and knowledge. Talk to experienced members of your team or people you know in the industry to find a mentor. They can offer you regular advice and feedback to help you become a better sonographer. If you have the opportunity, shadowing them can also be helpful, as it may teach you new ways to complete common tasks.

Sonographer skills in the workplace

To highlight your skills in the workplace, consider the following tips:

Participate in continued learning

Sonographers gain new skills and refine their current skills when they participate in continued learning opportunities. These include attending workshops, taking classes, training, reading industry publications and challenging themselves to take on new opportunities. Some employers may even have continued learning requirements for sonographers to meet. Sonographers accredited by the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry are required to complete formal continuing professional development tasks throughout their careers.

Practise good communication

Communication helps you work well with other members of your team and your patients. Practise good communication by listening effectively, asking questions for clarity, expressing your perspective on challenges and using language that best suits the needs of your audience. This can help you build stronger, long-lasting relationships.

Demonstrate teamwork

One way to apply your skills in the workplace is by being a good team member. This means communicating well with others in your team, using active listening to understand varied perspectives, using problem-solving skills to resolve conflicts, acting with integrity and offering help to team members as needed. This can improve collaboration and morale in the workplace.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Highlighting sonography skills to an employer

You can improve the quality of your resume, cover letter or job interview to increase your chances of getting a job as a sonographer by following these tips:

Resume

There are many ways to highlight your skills on your resume, such as in your professional summary or skills section. As your two- to three-sentence professional summary is at the top of your resume, it's typically the first thing employers see. You can use this summary to describe your skills and relate them to the position for which you're applying. Another obvious place to highlight your skills is the skills section of your resume. Try to include six to 10 relevant skills here.

To determine which skills to include in both sections, analyse the employer's job posting or description for unique keywords. They may mention specific skills or experience they want candidates to have. If you include these keywords in your resume, it can strengthen your application and show employers why you're qualified for the position.

Related: How to Create a Stand-Out Resume (With Template and Example)

Cover letter

While cover letters aren't usually required, including one can help you expand on your skills. Focus on one or two key skills and describe ways you've used them in the past. For example, you can describe a time your communication skills helped you calm down a patient. Providing specific examples allows you to highlight your proven success as a sonographer.

Interview

Whenever you have the opportunity in your interview, try to talk about skills you have that you know the employer is looking for in a candidate. Always provide examples of how you used these skills successfully, like you did in your cover letter. The interview is your chance to expand on these examples and show the employer you understand the requirements of the role.

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