Should I be trained to perform ultrasounds?

By | 2022-02-11T16:18:26-05:00 August 13th, 2010|0 Comments

Question:

Dear Nancy,

I have been a perinatal nurse for 15-plus years, and in my new position, the perinatologists I work with want to train me to do ultrasounds for amniotic fluid indexes and biophysical profiles. I would train for approximately 50 scans and then do them on my own. A perinatologist will sign off on them, but I am concerned about the legal ramifications. Should I be trained by the MD or the technician, if at all?

Joanne

Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Joanne,

This possible role expansion for you sounds interesting and hopefully will provide you with more job satisfaction and additional pay for the additional responsibilities it entails. However, it is important to be clear about the fact that any role expansion requires a careful evaluation of its benefits and its drawbacks.

In healthcare today, ultrasound technicians are certified, although that may not be required in your state or any state. Certification by the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers (ARDMS), for example, requires graduation from an accredited education program after receiving an associate or bachelor’s degree. The exam consists of a general physical principles and instrumentation exam and then a specialty exam, such as OB/GYN sonography. You can learn more about these requirements at www.alliedhealthschools.com.

It would be important for you to explore how you can be certified in this area of sonography and if it is something that you need to do to protect the patients you will be working with. Taking on such an important additional responsibility with little training would be foolish. Patient care may be jeporadized, as might your valuable nurse license. One of the requirements of any nurse licensee, indeed any nurse, both legally and ethically, is not to undertake any professional responsibility for which one is not prepared and not competent to carry out.

Sincerely,
Nancy

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