Tips from working in a hospital or clinic
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
With my background as a respiratory therapist-turned-sonographer, I've compiled a list of things to do and not to do in a hospital or a clinic. This post is mostly geared towards for ultrasound students who have not worked in a healthcare setting before. As ideas come in, I will update this list as I go.
Your clinic sites are silently interviewing you at their facility. Be sure to ask questions. If you don't have a question, just comment on something and show them that you're interested and engaged! You don't have to know everything right away, but they tend to look at your personality and how well you work in the department.
Pay attention to the ergonomics that other sonographers use. See what works for them (or what doesn't work).
Do NOT anger nurses. Be polite and friendly with them and they will help you! When you go portable, they will be your best friends!
DO tell the nurse if you have raised or lowered the bed level if the patient has an arterial line. If the arterial line transducer up does not line up with the level of the heart, the blood pressure starts alarming and makes the nurse worry.
DO ask the nurse if you are not comfortable or familiar with the many tubes on ICU patients. The patient is usually on a ventilator possibly with dialysis, ECMO, or an intra-aortic balloon pump. You definitely don't want to disconnect these tubes!
DO remember to lower the bed level and raise the bed rail when you're done scanning. It is very easy to walk away and forget when you have 10+ patients to see. Nothing is worse than causing a patient to fall out of bed so don't forget!
When you have a C. difficile patient or blood on the equipment, DO make sure to wipe your machine with bleach.
"E" oxygen tanks (the common portable ones) have a maximum duration of 560 minutes when filled to the maximum (2000 psi) with 1 LPM. That number diminishes with increased liter flow. The equation is (filled psi * 0.28) / (Flowmeter number). The minute duration is the answer to the equation.
DON'T wait until a patient starts crashing their vitals. If you think something is wrong with the patient before you start scanning, ask for help.