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Overview of the role

Conducting diagnostic and screening ultrasound examinations

Sonographer (Degree)

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the health sector and includes the NHS and private healthcare providers working in hospitals and clinics.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to conduct diagnostic and screening ultrasound examinations. Ultrasound is the use of highly specialised scanning equipment to create echoes of high-frequency sound waves that can be bounced off body tissues. The echoes are then converted into an image called a sonogram. Ultrasound imaging allows an inside view of soft tissues and the body, to examine anatomy and identify problems. Sonographers perform and report a wide range of clinical ultrasound examinations within a defined area of practice. They undertake scans which may include but are not limited to cancer detection, women's health and pregnancy, abdominal, vascular and musculoskeletal examinations, although their individual scope of practice can be wide and varied. It requires extremely good hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and excellent interpersonal skills.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with patients, their carers, members of the public and a range of healthcare professionals, e.g. doctors, midwives, nurses and radiographers. The sonographer will be competent to practice independently in this discipline but will work as part of a wider clinical team. They are independent professional practitioners responsible for managing their own work and for a wide range of specialist ultrasound scanning equipment and resources. They typically report to advanced practitioners, and may supervise healthcare assistants and clinical support workers.

Typical job titles include:

Sonographer

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria for appointing apprentices; candidates typically will have 5 GCSEs including English and Maths A-C or 4 and above, and 3 A-levels A-C including one science, or equivalent qualifications.


Occupation duties

Duty

Criteria for measuring performance

KSBs

Duty 1 Work independently to plan, organise and prioritise ultrasound patient sessions, including evaluating patient notes and assessing their suitability to undergo the imaging procedure to ensure it is the right test, at the right time for that particular patient.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K4 K5 K7 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K20 K24 K26 K27 K29

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S12 S13 S15 S16 S17 S18 S19 S20 S22 S24 S25 S26 S27 S28 S29 S33

B1 B2 B5

Duty 2 Maintain data protection, patient confidentiality, effectively use relevant IT systems and undertake accurate data entry, patient report writing and record keeping with attention to detail.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer.

Handles patient information in accordance with data protection and patient condentiality protocols.

Maintains accurate records

K1 K2 K7 K13 K15 K17 K19 K22 K27 K29

S1 S2 S3 S4 S7 S11 S13 S17 S23 S24 S25 S37

B3 B5

Duty 3 Communicate effectively with patients, their family and carers and the Multi-Disciplinary team

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

Communicates effectively

K1 K2 K5 K6 K7 K8 K11 K13 K16 K17 K24 K25 K26 K27

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S12 S15 S16 S18 S19 S20 S22 S23 S29 S36

B1 B2 B5 B6

Duty 4 Confirm patient consent for a variety of ultrasound procedures as a practitioner and understand limitations of own role within the consent process.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K5 K6 K7 K8 K13 K16 K17 K20 K25 K27

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S12 S15 S16 S18 S19 S20 S22 S23

B1 B2 B4 B6

Duty 5 Comply with statutory and local departmental ultrasound policies including health and safety policies such as infection control, incident reporting, safeguarding, complaint procedures and accurate record keeping of patient information relating to imaging.

Complies with statutory and local departmental ultrasound policies

K1 K2 K6 K7 K8 K13 K16 K19 K20 K28 K29

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S21 S22 S23 S24 S25 S26 S34 S37 S38 S39 S40

B5

Duty 6 Carry out the range of ultrasound examinations within your scope of practice, to acquire and interpret ultrasound images and produce patient reports.

Acquires accurate ultrasound images

Accurately interprets ultrasound images

Produces accurate and timely patient reports

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K8 K9 K10 K11 K13 K14 K15 K18 K22 K23 K29

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S16 S20 S23 S27 S28 S29 S30 S33 S37 S41

B1 B2 B3 B5

Duty 7 Optimise image quality by adjusting ultrasound machine and controls in order to obtain high quality scans and accurate diagnoses.

Obtains high quality scans and accurate diagnoses

K1 K9 K10 K13 K14 K18

S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12

B5

Duty 8 Evaluate the quality of images according to the clinical criteria. Recognise normal, normal variants and abnormal image appearances in order to provide a report and to escalate urgent and unexpected findings in a timely manner.

Recognises and can report normal, normal variants and abnormal image appearances.

Escalates urgent and unexpected findings in a timely manner.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K7 K11 K13 K15 K17 K18 K20 K23 K24 K25

S1 S2 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S16 S17 S20 S28

B2 B5 B6

Duty 9 Recognise and appropriately act upon the emotional and psychological needs of patients, colleagues, team and oneself due to the exposure to distressing and emotional situations.

Recognises and can report normal, normal variants and abnormal image appearances

Escalates urgent and unexpected Findings in a timely manner

Recognises and deals effectively with the emotional and psychological needs of self and others

K1 K5 K8 K13 K16 K17 K18 K20 K23 K24 K25 K26

S3 S4 S5 S6 S18 S19 S20 S26 S29 S31 S33 S42

B1 B2 B5 B6

Duty 10 Communicate and discuss complex and sensitive information with Sonography patients in an empathetic and professional manner, ensuring their needs are met during the scan.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

Communicates empathetically and professionally

Ensures patient's needs are met during the scan.

K1 K5 K6 K8 K13 K16 K17 K20 K22 K25 K26

S4 S5 S6 S18 S19 S20 S24 S25 S26

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6

Duty 11 Take professional accountability for own practice and adhere to departmental policies relevant to the role of a Sonographer.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K5 K6 K7 K8 K10 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K22 K23 K24 K25 K26 K27 K29

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 S21 S22 S23 S24 S25 S27 S29 S30 S32 S33 S34 S36 S37 S38 S40

B4 B5

Duty 12 Supervise assistant practitioners, healthcare support worker, students and other learner groups within imaging and non-imaging services, facilitating their development and training, as appropriate.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

Facilitates the development and training of others

K1 K15 K18 K23 K24 K27

S12 S30 S33 S38

B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 13 Practise autonomously, safely, and effectively within the scope of Sonography practice and within the legal and ethical boundaries of a Sonographer.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23 K24 K25 K26 K27 K28 K29

S1 S2 S22 S23 S24 S25 S26 S27 S29 S42

B4 B5

Duty 14 Practise in a non-discriminatory way acting in the best interest of patients at all times and act as an advocate for patients and their families within the Imaging Multi-Disciplinary Team setting.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K6 K7 K8 K12 K13 K16 K17 K20 K24 K25 K26 K27

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S21 S22 S23 S24 S25 S26 S34 S37 S38 S39 S40

B1 B2 B5

Duty 15 Contribute to patient management plan, seeking appropriate onward referral as required when findings are outside their scope of practice

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

Makes appropriate referrals

K1 K2 K4 K5 K13 K14 K17 K24 K25 K26

S12 S20 S21 S22 S23 S29

B4 B5

Duty 16 Reflect on own Sonography practice and learning, and identify areas for personal development to maintain fitness to practice and to satisfy the requirements of relevant professional standards .

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K15 K18 K19 K22 K23

S20 S27 S29 S30 S32 S34 S35 S38

B3 B4 B6

Duty 17 Develop procedures and changes to working practices or procedures for own work area, including research and audit of service delivery.

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K1 K2 K14 K15 K22 K23 K27

S29 S30 S32 S33 S34 S35

B3 B5

Duty 18 Assist in an agreed quality assurance programme including the regular inspection of ultrasound machines and ancillary equipment

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

Maintains a safe working clinical environment

K1 K2 K10 K14 K22

S8 S11 S12 S14 S15 S17 S32 S33 S37 S40

B3 B5

Duty 19 Facilitate learning through delivering public health activities and education for patients and the general public

Works in line with legislation, standards, codes of conduct, national and local policies and procedures relevant to practice as a sonographer

K2 K5 K8 K14 K15 K17 K24 K25 K26 K27

S31 S33 S34 S35 S38

B1 B5


KSBs

Knowledge

K1: Knowledge and understanding of the Society and College of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society (2017) Guidelines For Professional Ultrasound Practice, and national and local ultrasound policies. Back to Duty

K2: Knowledge and understanding of the legislative and clinical governance frameworks associated with sonography and the political, social, and economic factors impacting on health and social care and ultrasound service delivery in the NHS, private and independent sectors. Back to Duty

K3: Knowledge of the structure and function of the human body and how to relate these to normal, normal variants and abnormal ultrasound appearances and pathophysiology. Back to Duty

K4: Knowledge of the signs and symptoms of disease and trauma that result in referral for ultrasound procedures, and the use of other diagnostic tests. Back to Duty

K5: Understanding of the limitations of own scope of practice, knowledge and skills, and when to seek advice or refer to another professional. Back to Duty

K6: Knowledge of the procedure for obtaining consent and the implications of not obtaining consent, including the Society and College of Radiographer consent guidance documentation Back to Duty

K7: Knowledge and understanding of patient confidentiality, the responsibility to maintain it and understanding of the General Data Protection Regulation, including the need for accurate record keeping, in accordance with relevant legislation, protocols and guidelines. Back to Duty

K8: Knowledge and understanding of how to modify and tailor own communication skills address factors such as age, capacity, learning ability and physical ability whilst performing ultrasound examinations and discussing outcomes to ensure the patient and people acting on their behalf understand the message you are conveying Back to Duty

K9: Knowledge and understanding of the physics and technology of ultrasound imaging and image generation, including the underlying scientific principles. Back to Duty

K10: Knowledge and understanding of ultrasound equipment and its safe use and function in order to ensure that it is appropriate for purpose Back to Duty

K11: Knowledge and understanding of how to select, use and apply appropriate scientific and clinical terminology in all aspects of their professional practice. Back to Duty

K12: Knowledge and understanding of how the risk-benefit philosophy applies to ultrasound safety, to protect both individual service users and the population. Back to Duty

K13: Knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles involved in the practice of ultrasound and ultrasound reporting, including clinical judgement, clinical decision making and when to escalate. Back to Duty

K14: Knowledge and understanding of the importance of quality assurance, health and safety and patient centred care as they apply to the practice of ultrasound. Back to Duty

K15: Knowledge and understanding of how to critically appraise current literature in order to support evidence based practice and research. Back to Duty

K16: Knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice in order to practice in a non-discriminatory manner, maintaining patients dignity and rights. Back to Duty

K17: Knowledge and understanding of patient /service user centred care in the context of their professional practice. Back to Duty

K18: Understanding of the importance of participation in training, supervision and mentoring. Back to Duty

K19: Knowledge and understanding of appropriate supplementary procedures aligned to mandatory training including manual handling, data protection, confidentiality, infection control and disposal of bodily fluids. Back to Duty

K20: Knowledge and understanding of medical ethics and mental capacity. Back to Duty

K21: Knowledge and understanding of ergonomically sound practice to ensure own wellbeing. Back to Duty

K22: Knowledge and understanding of the need to monitor and evaluate the quality of practice and the value of contributing to the generation of data for quality assurance and improvement programmes. Back to Duty

K23: Understand the importance of reflective practice, lifelong learning and continuing professional development within their own ultrasound practice and that of others. Back to Duty

K24: Understand the need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an independent professional and collaboratively as a member of a team. Back to Duty

K25: Understand the need to engage and empower service users and carers in planning and evaluating. Back to Duty

K26: Understanding of the role of the sonographer in the promotion of health and health education in relation to healthy living and health screening for disease detection. Back to Duty

K27: Understanding of the concept of leadership and its application to sonography practice. Back to Duty

K28: Knowledge and understanding of the pharmacology of ultrasound contrast media and drugs used during diagnosis and treatment, the methods of drugs administration, and how to remove and re-apply dressings. Back to Duty

K29: Understand cyber security in relation to ultrasound practice. Back to Duty

Skills

S1: Interpret, apply and reflect on professional codes of practice and legislation in order to deliver ultrasound examinations and take responsibility for own actions, exercising a professional duty of care. Back to Duty

S2: Receive and justify appropriateness of referrals, and advise other healthcare professionals about the relevance and application of ultrasound examinations to the service user’s needs. Back to Duty

S3: Use independent methods to establish and confirm service user identity and confirm patient consent prior to undertaking ultrasound procedures. Back to Duty

S4: Assess patients clinical condition prior to, during and after ultrasound examinations, recognising changing signs, symptoms and progression of disease, and make appropriate decisions relating to ultrasound appearances and the immediate management of the patient Back to Duty

S5: Use effective communication with the patient to determine their suitability for the procedure before and during their examination,. Back to Duty

S6: Assess potential communication barriers and modify communication to ensure inclusivity and form relationships and rapport with all patients. Back to Duty

S7: Acquire, interpret and report on the range of ultrasound examinations within their scope of practice with a high level of skill and accuracy. Back to Duty

S8: Optimise the ultrasound machine and controls to perform a high quality scan. Back to Duty

S9: Use spatial awareness and psychomotor skills when manipulating the patient’s body to produce accurate ultrasound images. Back to Duty

S10: Distinguish between normal and abnormal appearances evident during the ultrasound examination and on resultant ultrasound images, and document findings in a written report. Back to Duty

S11: Critically evaluate the quality of ultrasound images for clinical manifestations and technical accuracy in relation to their diagnostic value. Back to Duty

S12: Work both independently and in a multi-professional team. Back to Duty

S13: Use physical, graphical, verbal and electronic methods to collect and analyse information from a range of sources including service user’s clinical history, diagnostic images and reports, pathological tests and results. Back to Duty

S14: Operate ultrasound equipment and related accessory equipment safely and accurately, and take appropriate action in the case of faulty functioning and operation. Back to Duty

S15: Apply the risk-benefit philosophy to ultrasound safety considerations to protect both individual service users and the population. Back to Duty

S16: Select and explain the rationale for examination and treatment techniques and immobilisation procedures appropriate to the service user’s physical and disease management requirements. Back to Duty

S17: Take responsibility for reasoned decisions when performing a broad range of clinical, technical, managerial or scientific procedures and record appropriately. Back to Duty

S18: Recognise verbal and non-verbal cues that indicate the patient may require emotional and psychological support. Back to Duty

S19: Seek clinical supervision to ensure support whilst dealing with possibly distressing and difficult circumstances. Back to Duty

S20: Seek advice from or refer to another professional when findings are outside your scope of practice. Back to Duty

S21: Initiate resolutions to ultrasound problems using a comprehensive range of cognitive and practical skills associated with ultrasound. Back to Duty

S22: Manage risk and report concerns about safety, and be open when things go wrong. Back to Duty

S23: Keep accurate records of own work and promote and protect the interests of patients, staff, and public. Back to Duty

S24: Maintain and respect patient confidentiality while following local safeguarding policy and national guidelines. Back to Duty

S25: Recognise and respond appropriately to situations where it is necessary to share information to safeguard ultrasound patients or the wider public. Back to Duty

S26: Provide patients or their advocates with the information necessary to enable them to make informed decisions, with regular reappraisal of their information needs, as appropriate. Back to Duty

S27: Manage own workload and resources effectively and be able to practice accordingly. Back to Duty

S28: Integrate theoretical and practical knowledge in order to solve problems. Back to Duty

S29: Work within the limits of own knowledge and skills, delegate appropriately. Lead and manage in accordance with your level of responsibility. Back to Duty

S30: Maintain and further develop your own skills and knowledge Back to Duty

S31: Ability to support and facilitate learning for others. Back to Duty

S32: Contribute to the development, design, and implementation of clinical audit and service improvement initiatives and use evidence-based research and clinical trials outcomes to explore and develop own clinical practice. Back to Duty

S33: Work in partnership with service users, other professionals, support staff and others, and contribute effectively to work undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Back to Duty

S34: Reflect critically on practice and contemporary evidence that underpins ultrasound practice, and apply critical thinking and problem solving to professional decision making. Back to Duty

S35: Apply findings from patient feedback audit and clinical trials to practice. Back to Duty

S36: Apply conflict resolution strategies appropriately. Back to Duty

S37: Keep accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible records and other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines. Back to Duty

S38: Reflect on and learn from clinical incidences and complaints, and share learning with peers. Back to Duty

S39: Signpost patients and their families to the patient complaint process, support them and colleagues during incidences and the reporting process. Back to Duty

S40: Use information and communication technologies appropriate to their practice. Back to Duty

S41: Remove and re-apply dressings and supports appropriately and in a safe, effective and considerate manner. Back to Duty

S42: Use basic life support techniques and be able to deal safely with clinical emergencies Back to Duty

Behaviors

B1: Behave with dignity, respecting an individual’s diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, and preferences. Back to Duty

B2: Show respect, empathy and the right to privacy for everyone in their work environment and have the courage to challenge areas of concern. Back to Duty

B3: Be adaptable, reliable, and consistent. Back to Duty

B4: Show discretion, resilience and self-awareness. Back to Duty

B5: Act with professionalism, honesty, integrity and respect in all interactions. Maintain good character as outlined in their professional code of conduct and not bring their profession or organisation into disrepute. Back to Duty

B6: Demonstrate emotional intelligence, remaining calm in distressing and adverse situations. Back to Duty


Qualifications

English & Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

BSc Honours Ultrasound; BSc Honours Medical Ultrasound; BSc Honours Diagnostic Imaging; BSc Honours Diagnostic Ultrasound; BSc Honours Medical Imaging (Ultrasound); BSc Honours Ultrasound Imaging

Level: 6 (integrated degree)

Professional Recognition

This standard has professional recognition.

Body Level
Society and College of Radiographers
British Medical Ultrasound Society


Additional details

Occupational Level:

6

Duration (months):

36

Review

This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: integrated degree
Reference: ST0554
Version: 1
Date updated: 09/01/2020
Approved for delivery: 16 August 2019
Route: Health and science
Typical duration: 36 months
Maximum funding: £19000
Trailblazer contact(s): alison.mcguiness@nhs.net
Employers involved in creating the standard: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North West Surgeons, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen, University Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Thisismy: Screening and Ultrasound Centre, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
EQA Provider: Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) (TBC)
This EQA provider is currently going through the approval process with the Institute for Apprenticeships so is unable to help with any queries relating to this standard at the present time. If you need support in relation to any of the content on this page please contact the Institute for Apprenticeships.

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Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
1 09/01/2020 Updated structure Previous version
1 16/08/2019 EPA published. Funding published. Marked approved for delivery

Not available

1 15/02/2019 Standard first published

Not available

1 08/01/2018 Initial creation

Not available