What is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?

Diagnostic Medical Sonography is a Radiologic and Imaging Sciences specialty with ten subspecialties. Grand Valley State University offers six of these subspecialties. Students are required to choose a concentration in either general (abdominal and obstetric-gynecology) or echocardiography (adult and either pediatric or vascular sonography). GVSU's pediatric echocardiography program is the only B.S. degree in the United States. 

Sonographers practice a form of medical imaging that uses complex computerized high frequency sound wave and Doppler signal equipment to visualize subtle differences between healthy tissues and pathologic areas of the body, evaluate vascular flow information, and document pathologic and other conditions. The sonographer must acquire excellent knowledge of sectional anatomy, clinical medicine, pathology, and the use of sonographic instrumentation. Sonographers are responsible for patient care during procedures, which may include inpatient, outpatient, surgery, and mobile work. It is critical that sonographers have exceptional critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to develop a high level of interpersonal relationships with patients, other staff, physicists, and physicians. Sonographers work collaboratively with radiologists, cardiologists, vascular surgeons, and other physicians to produce differential diagnoses.

Students who receive a B.S. degree in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences with an emphasis in diagnostic medical sonography from Grand Valley are eligible for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) national credentialing examinations in their program emphasis concentrations. The ARDMS has recognized the program and established eligibility for students who complete the full degree program that result in students becoming eligible for national board examinations near the end of the fall term of their senior year.  Since 2008 all GVSU DMS General graduates have been ARDMS registered before graduation.   

Individuals who have been involved in a criminal proceeding or charged with or convicted of a crime may not be eligible for national certification by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Because this certification is available to Diagnostic Medical Sonography students upon completion of 1680 contact hours (which normally occurs in November or December of the senior year before graduation the following April), students are strongly advised to work with the ARDMS for pre-application review of eligibility for certification from their website at www.ardms.org. The ARDMS may be contacted by phone at 301-738-8401 for more information.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs at GVSU currently hold the maximum allowable initial term for general (abdominal obstetrics-gynecology), adult echocardiography, and vascular sonography.  The programs adhere to the JRCDMS standards. Students have the right to notify the JRCDMS if they believe the university is not adhering to these standards. The JRCDMS is at 6021 University Blvd., Suite 500, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Phone 443-973-3251.  The list of nationally accredited programs is at www.caahep.org