Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson School of Health Professions

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Cardiac Sonography

Overview

Cardiac sonographers, also known as echocardiographers, use ultrasound to examine the heart's chambers, walls, valves and vessels.

Tasks

  • acquire information related to the heart's anatomy and physiology
  • produce real-time images of cardiac structures to assist the physician in diagnosing cardiovascular disease
  • evaluate acquired and congenital cardiac abnormalities and associated complications
  • evaluate narrowed or leaking heart valves
  • look for causes of murmurs, chest pain, shortness of breath
  • track and evaluate chronic heart conditions

Technology

  • sophisticated diagnostic ultrasound imaging machines
  • transducers that use high-frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images

Patient Interaction

  • direct patient contact
  • healthy and critically ill inpatients and outpatients
  • all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics
  • predominantly noninvasive

Work Conditions

  • small, low-lit rooms
  • stand or sit beside the patient, who is on a stretcher, exam table or wheelchair
  • portable ultrasound sometimes performed  in patient’s room

Mission

The Mission of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (General, Cardiac, and Vascular) Programs and the Department of Radiologic Sciences is to provide a comprehensive education preparing students for entry-level practice into medical imaging sciences and the radiologic and imaging sciences, as competent, caring professionals, cultivating professionalism, interprofessional practice and life-long learning. Through innovative pedagogy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are developed and enhanced.

Program Goals & Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes:

1-A. Students will select appropriate transducers and use appropriate technical settings.

1-B. Students will demonstrate knowledge of proper patient prep.

1-C. Students will obtain appropriate images of highest obtainable technical quality .

1-D. Students will provide safe and quality patient care.

Student Learning Outcomes:

2-A. Students will adjust technical settings as needed based on patient body habitus and/or pathology. Students will also change transducers or patient position as needed for exam.

2-B. Students will critique images for diagnostic quality.

Student Learning Outcomes:

3-A. Students will demonstrate age-appropriate oral communication skills.

3-B. Students will demonstrate effective written communication skills.

3-C. Students will demonstrate appropriate communication skills with the interprofessional health care team.

Student Learning Outcomes:

4-A. Students will integrate professional ethics and behavior into clinical practice.

4-B. Students will function as part of the interprofessional healthcare team.

4-C. Students will participate in professional growth development.

Program Effectiveness Data

Credentialing Examination Pass Rates

Academic Program 5 Year Average(2008-2012)
Number Pass Rates
Took Passed JSHP National
Cardiac Sonography 88 73 83% 63%

Taken from 2013 Thomas Jefferson University Annual Report with anecdotal update from Program Directors in January 2014.

Click here to view data for class of 2010-2012

 

Job Placement Rates

Academic Program 5 Year Average (2008- 2012)
Number of
Students
Job Placement Rate
Seeking Job Employed in 6 months JSHP
Cardiac Sonography 41 32 78%

Taken from 2013 Thomas Jefferson University Annual Report with anecdotal update from Program Directors in January 2014.

Click here to view data for class of 2010-2012

 

Program Completion Rates

Academic Program 5 Year Average (2008 - 2012)
Number of Students Program Completion Rate
Entered Grad. JSHP
Cardiac Sonography 62 60 97%

Data from Program Directors (updated annually). Data collected August 19, 2013

Click here to view data for class of 2010-2012

Accreditation

The Cardiac Sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP) in collaboration with the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRCDMS). CAAHEP can be contacted at  1361 Park Street, Clearwater, FL 33756, (727) 210-2350, (727) 210-2354 (fax) or mail@caahep.org.  JRCDMS can be contacted at  6021 University Boulevard, Suite 500, Ellicott City, MD 21043, (443) 973-3251 or jrcdms@intersocietal.org. Visit http://www.caahep.org/ and http://www.jrcdms.org/ for information.

Certification Exams

All BS graduates are eligible to take the associated certification examinations of the organizations that oversee the modality of study. Multicompetency students may not be able to take board exams until the BS is awarded at the completion of the 2-year program. Students who pass these examinations receive national certification.

Visit the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) website for more information.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 44% increase in the number of jobs for cardiac sonographers by 2020.

If you ...   then consider...
are in High School   2+2 PACE program
or 3+1 Advanced Placement BS/BS with
Immaculata University
have 50 prerequisite credits   2-year Multicompetency BS*option
or 2+1 BS/MS*
have a baccalaureate degree
and 50 prerequisite credits
  1-year Advanced Placement BS option
or 1+1 BS/MS
or 2-year Multicompetency BS* or 2+1 BS/MS*
have certification in or graduated from an accredited program* in
Radiologic Sciences or allied health and have 50 prerequisite credits 
  1-year Advanced Placement BS option
or 1+1 BS/MS
or 2-year Multicompetency BS* or 2+1 BS/MS*

It is recommended that students take Radiation Therapy the second year unless pursuing completion of the Medical Dosimetry program. Acceptance into the second year program of choice is not guaranteed.

First Year Second Year
Vascular Sonography Cardiac Sonography
General Sonography Cardiac Sonography

(Other modality combinations are possible. Students must consult an admissions counselor or a Radiologic Sciences faculty member when choosing modalities.)