Local hospital creates their own training program, School of Sonography

Education Matters

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Sonography is a growing field that is requiring more sonographers due to a personnel shortage in the field.

A local hospital is now offering training through an accelerated program.

Sonography is often associated with obstetrics and seeing an image of a baby in the womb, but the technology is used in many ways to assess and diagnose various medical conditions.

Cindy Harrison is the Program Coordinator of the ultrasound program at Mercyhealth, and she knows that technology is changing.

“Technology is changing as well as the need for sonographers as the baby boomers age the need for imaging studies has increased exponentially,” said Harrison. “Ultrasound is very safe. It’s non-invasive. It’s cost effective. So obviously it’s kind of the first choice of physicians.”

Last year Mercyhealth launched it’s own School of Sonography to keep up with the demand.

Ashley Laga is a student, and she said you have to be hands on to learn how to properly scan.

“You really have to learn your scanning. You can’t just watch somebody scan, you know, and learn from that,” said Laga. “You really have to be hands-on and put in the time and effort.”

It’s a full time, 15-month program that students say is challenging.

Taylor Mailhot is also a student of the school, and she notes that you have to have a good work ethic in order to be successful.

“It’s a lot of self study. It’s a lot of coming in on your own time and just improving your scanning skills and you just have to have a lot of work ethic and dedication and fully be invested,” Mailhot said.

There are several areas of specialization in the field of sonography. Harrison said that makes for a very rewarding career.

“We have so many specialties here at Mercyhealth that it’s a very good clinical education. You come out a very well rounded sonographer,” Harrison said. “You know, we have everything from Neurosonology to O.B. to Vascular.”

Mailhot said that she appreciates the versatility in the field of sonography.

“I love that this field gives me the opportunity to either do diagnostic or do maternal-fetal, or do echo, it’s just a really good field to go into that you can branch out in,” Mailhot said.

These students will graduate next month, and both already have positions lined up at Mercyhealth. They say if they had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t hesitate.

“A little bit more than I expected. Cause you think ultrasound you’re just going to be scanning babies,” Laga said. “There’s so much more than that so it’s been really awesome to learn all that.”

Program associates must have an associates degree in an allied health program or a bachelor’s degree in any field.

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