Work with patients who have difficulty breathing.
As an Echocardiographer, you get to see what a heart looks and sounds like while it’s beating. To do this, you use ultrasound technology to examine a patient’s heart. Echocardiographers apply methods similar to those that Obstetricians use to observe babies while they’re still in the womb. But instead of a sonogram, you produce what’s called an echocardiogram.
To perform your job duties as Echocardiographer, you use machines called transducers that send sonic waves through a patient’s chest. These waves bounce off the structures that make up the heart—valves, arteries, chambers and other vessels—and are sent to a machine that translates them into a live video image, which can then be recorded. From these videos, Doctors can assess the heart’s rhythm and structure, and note any areas of high pressure or other problems. While most Echocardiographers work with adult patients, you can choose to specialize in pediatric echocardiography, which focuses on heart imaging in babies and young children.
Taking an echocardiogram is considered noninvasive because you don’t have to insert tubes or other instruments into the patient’s body. It doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t come into close contact with your patient.
Your job involves matters of the heart, both literally and figuratively. You often have to be compassionate to a person’s emotions while you’re doing your job. Many patients will be scared that their heart is not functioning properly, which can be a serious concern. So it’s important to be sensitive and communicate everything you are doing with each individual to help him or her feel at ease.