Diagnostic Medical Sonography

At a Glance

Using ultrasound technology to create images for assessment and diagnosis.

A diagnostic medical sonographer is a highly skilled professional who provides patient care services. The sonographer uses specialized sonographic equipment to create images of structures within the human body. Sonographers have direct patient contact and may provide this service in a variety of medical settings where the physician is responsible for the use of and interpretation of appropriate procedures. LLCC’s program prepares students to secure their American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography credentials and entry-level work in the abdomen and obstetrics/gynecology specialty areas. Vascular instruction is also included in the coursework.

The DMS program will be seeking accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

The diagnostic medical sonography program includes general education, program and program elective courses. Didactic, lab and clinical coursework is required. To complete the DMS program at LLCC, each student must:

  1. Satisfy all admission requirements. 
  2. Successfully complete 66 credit hours of coursework according to the program paradigm. 
  3. Discharge all financial obligations to the college. 
  4. Complete the degree requirements of the college. 
  5. Apply for the degree by completing a graduation application.

It is recommended that students check regularly with LLCC Student Success to be sure that their program of courses is fulfilling the requirements.

The goals of the LLCC DMS program align fully with CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The LLCC DMS program strives to prepare competent entry-level general sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains. However, successful completion of the LLCC DMS program does not guarantee board certification, job placement services and/or employment in any heath care occupation.  

Program learning outcomes

By the completion of the LLCC DMS Program, graduates will be able to:

Demonstrate the skills necessary to become competent entry-level general sonographers. 

  • Students will perform diagnostic quality ultrasound examinations of the abdomen and small parts. 
  • Students will perform diagnostic quality ultrasound examination of the female pelvis. 
  • Students will perform diagnostic quality obstetric ultrasound examinations. 

Demonstrate proper scanning techniques, ultrasound physics, efficient use of the ultrasound machine, and quality patient care skills

  • Students will identify and properly engage machine controls for image optimization. 
  • Students will demonstrate appropriate patient care skills consistent with clinical standards of practice. 
  • Students will complete ultrasound examinations in a timely manner consistent with ALARA principles. 

Apply critical thinking skills and abilities to adapt to non-routine cases and abnormal clinical findings. 

  • Students will adapt standard procedures to non-routine cases. 
  • Students will differentiate normal and abnormal clinical findings. 
  • Students will integrate medical history, clinical presentation, and ultrasound findings to determine types of pathology and differentials. 

Communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, interpreting physicians, and other health care professionals. 

  • Students will demonstrate effective oral communication skills. 
  • Students will demonstrate effective written communication skills. 
  • Students will demonstrate effective technical communication skills. 

Obtain and analyze images for diagnostic quality. 

  • Students will identify artifacts appearing on ultrasound images. 
  • Students will analyze ultrasound images for diagnostic purposes. 
  • Students will demonstrate proper image acquisition, storage, and documentation of diagnostic ultrasound exams. 

Employ practice standards to display professionalism, demonstrate on-the-job responsibility, and to comply with ethical and legal guidelines. 

  • Students will exhibit ethical decision making. 
  • Students will demonstrate professionalism in accordance with practice standards. 
  • Students will recognize the importance of professional organizations and continuing education.

Essential functions

Students must be able to demonstrate a willingness and ability to provide equal non-discriminatory treatment of all patients regardless of gender, color, race, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and/or religion. In the classroom, students must also provide equal non-discriminatory practice of patient assessment skills upon the request of the instructor.

DMS program technical standards

Technical standards are a group of minimum expectations that incorporate observation, communication, cognitive, behavioral and motor skills, as recommended by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. These expectations are set forth so that the DMS student can perform the common duties required of a sonographer in a professional setting. Students must verify that they meet the technical standards described below at the time of matriculation into the program. In addition, students accepted to the DMS program must notify the DMS program director immediately if there is a change in their ability to meet any required technical standard.

Observation

  • Distinguish multiple shades of gray to differentiate types of tissue and normal tissue from abnormal pathologies.
  • Detect different colors to distinguish tissue, organ boundaries and/or Doppler flow patterns.
  • Observe sonographers demonstrating scanning skills, patient manipulations and delivering effective patient care.
  • Observe patients for signs of distress and/or to detect needs for assistance both near and far in an environment with limited lighting.
  • Have the visual ability to read electronic and paper charts, evaluate images and observe the condition of the patient.
  • Adequately view sonograms and be able to perceive small details as well as to discriminate subtle differences in tissue, sounds and/or blood flow dynamics.

Communication

  • Communicate in English (verbally and in writing) to patients, caregivers and healthcare workers.
  • Hear and communicate instructions and explanations to patients and/or caregivers in a clear and compassionate manner and be able to perceive nonverbal communication.
  • Recognize, respond and communicate properly when faced with an urgent or emergency situations.
  • Read and analyze a patient chart and exam requisition(s) for pertinent information.

Cognitive abilities

  • Implement critical thinking skills in clinical and lab settings.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills by recognizing problems, instituting solutions and assessing outcomes.
  • Integrate, analyze and compare information based on ultrasound images.
  • Comprehend multidimensional and spatial relationships of anatomy.
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative analysis when problem solving. 

Behavior

  • Be organized and perform protocols in a specific sequence.
  • Learn by a variety of methods including classroom, lab, groups, individual and computer activities.
  • Display professional behaviors in all interactions with patients, caregivers, students, healthcare workers and instructors in the clinical, lab and college settings.
  • Adapt to changing environments.
  • Accept constructive feedback from others and implement change learned from feedback.
  • Understand the implication of noncompliance with the legal standards.
  • Maintain good judgment to complete responsibilities as required.

Motor skills

  • Be able to bend or stoop for equipment manipulation repetitively.
  • Be able to lift 50 lbs. routinely.
  • Stand for long periods of time, up to 80%.
  • Push or pull large pieces of equipment up to 500 lbs.
  • Have full use of hands, wrists and shoulders for scanning and equipment manipulation.
  • Manipulate equipment controls in various increments to create diagnostic images.
  • Bend at the waist.
  • Reach equipment keyboard, controls and screen.
  • Maintain arm and hand positions for extended periods of time for various scanning protocols.
  • Have good hand and eye coordination for accurate examination of organs and document images.