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DMS Collage

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Frequently Asked Questions

About Clinical Rotations in the DMS Program

 

 

Welcome to the Montgomery College DMS clinical affiliates information web page.  This site will provide you with the answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” perspective students typically have.  You will also find a list of our clinical affiliates and the respective specialties that are practiced there.

 

Question 1: I was reading online, at the Montgomery College Diagnostic Medical Sonography website, about the program and I am wondering just what a clinical affiliate is? 

Question 2: There are several hospitals close to where I live. Can I choose one of those to attend for my off-campus clinical education?

Question 3: What if I don’t like the clinical affiliate that I am assigned to?  

Question 4: How long will I be at an assigned clinical affiliate?

Question 5: What if I really like my site and don’t want to leave it for another clinical rotation?

Question 6: What can I expect to learn at these different clinical sites?

Question 7: Will the ultrasound machines at all my sites be the same as the ones in our scanning lab on campus?

Question 8: How often will they let me scan during my clinical rotation?

Question 9: How many times a week and how many hours/day am will I attend my clinical site?

Question 10: Will I be responsible for having my own transportation to my assigned clinical site and will I have to pay for parking?

Question 11: What if I am sick or there is a family emergency and I have to miss attending clinical for one or more days?

Question 12: What is considered appropriate dress while I am at my clinical site?

Question 13: Are there any other requirements for attending clinicals while in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program?

Question 14: What advice would a graduating student from the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program give to a prospective student who was considering going into this field of study?

 

 

I was reading online, at the Montgomery College Diagnostic Medical Sonography website, about the program and I am wondering just what a clinical affiliate is?

 

Your assigned clinical site will be selected by the clinical faculty for you.  The clinical faculty  try to find appropriate sites for your clinical needs.  For example, if you are not quite confident in your scanning ability for a particular protocol, the clinical coordinator will make it a priority to assign you to a site that gives you the practice that you need.  They are always looking out for your best interest and will assign you to a site that will give you the most benefits.

 

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There are several hospitals close to where I live.  Can I choose one of those to attend for my off-campus clinical education?

 

 Your assigned clinical site will be selected by the clinical faculty for you.  The clinical faculty  try to find appropriate sites for your clinical needs.  For example, if you are not quite confident in your scanning ability for a particular protocol, the clinical coordinator will make it a priority to assign you to a site that gives you the practice that you need.  They are always looking out for your best interest and will assign you to a site that will give you the most benefits.  

 

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What if I don’t like the clinical affiliate that I am assigned to?

 

Each site you are assigned to will have different scanning protocols, different policies, and of course different sonographers that you will be working with.   This gives a student the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of sonographers and different patient populations.   This learning experience is very important in your education.   Be positive and take this opportunity to learn everything you can from each site.  

 

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How long will I be at an assigned clinical affiliate?

 

Students usually remain at a clinical site for one, sometimes two semesters.  The clinical faculty tries to ensure that you will have a well rounded clinical experience while in the program, so they will rotate you to different clinical settings.   These different rotations will also allow you to better decide what type of facility you would like to work in when you have completed the program.

 

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What if I really like my site and don’t want to leave it for another clinical rotation?

 

It is important that you experience multiple clinical experiences so that you have a better understanding of how ultrasound is performed in different settings.  Not all ultrasound procedures are done at every clinical site, which is why it is important to rotate through different departments to get experience with as many different types of ultrasound studies.  The more you learn, the more marketable you will be when you graduate.

 

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 What can I expect to learn at these different clinical sites?

 

You can expect to learn different scanning techniques. You have the opportunity to be part of a healthcare team, which will include; acquiring and reviewing patient histories, preparing patients for the ultrasound exam, and communicating with patients about what to expect while the ultrasound exam is being performed.  While in the clinical setting, you learn to interact with the patients, their family members and your fellow healthcare professionals.   

 

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Will the ultrasound machines at all my sites be the same as the ones in our scanning lab on campus?

 

Just as we have different ultrasound machines in the scanning lab on campus, there will also be different ultrasound machines at your clinical sites that you will have to become orientated with and proficient with using.  Ultrasound machines are like computers, they basically all do the same thing, just a little differently.  This is another reason why you should want to rotate to different clinical sites, the more ultrasound machines you become familiar with, the more marketable you will be when you are looking for a job.

 

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How often will they let me scan during my clinical rotation?

 

The amount you will be allowed to scan will vary with each clinical site.  During your first year in the program, your scanning time will be limited.  There is so much that you can learn at a clinical site along with scanning.  Observation is very important, as it will allow you to begin to learn how to differentiate between normal and abnormal structures.  Your clinical instructor will be constantly assessing your skills and when they think you are ready to scan, they will look at you and say “can you bring this patient to the exam room and begin scanning”.   It will be such a thrill to see your skills progress and see how quickly you move from observing at your clinical sites to completing full ultrasound exams on the patients.

 

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How many times a week and how many hours/day am will I attend my clinical site?

 

During your first year in the program, you will be attending clinicals one day a week.  As you progress in the program the time and clinical requirements will increase along with your experience.  During the second year you will begin going three days a week and progressing to five days a week.  A typical day at clinical requires you to be there approximately eight hours a day during normal working hours.  With each assigned clinical site you will make arrangements to attend clinicals on specific days and times that meet the clinical sites schedule.

 

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Will I be responsible for having my own transportation to my assigned clinical site and will I have to pay for parking?

 

You will need to provide your own transportation to each clinical site you are assigned to.  It is always a good idea to do a trial run to your site before showing up on your assigned day so that you can figure out the route and how long it will take you to get there during rush hour.  Being on time is an expectation the clinical site will have of you, just as they do with their own employees.  Some sites are accessible via public transportation, but you cannot always rely on public transportation to get to all your assigned clinical sites.  You will need your own a car to get to most of the clinical sites.

 

Many sites have plenty of free parking but at some you will have to pay for parking.  You will need to get in touch with your clinical site to find out what their parking policy is.

 

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What if I am sick or there is a family emergency and I have to miss attending clinical for one or more days?

 

Sometimes things do come up and you will be unable to make it to our clinical site on you’re the assigned clinical day.  You will be expected to contact your clinical site, and the college of any day that you cannot attend clinicals.  Communication is essential with your clinical instructors and clinical faculty.  It is important to give them the heads up if you think you will have to miss clinicals or if you are running late to clinicals.  All time that you miss at clinicals will need to be made up.  There is no excused time off from clinicals, unless the College is officially closed.  There is a required amount of hours each semester that you need to attend clinicals, so plan ahead for the possibility of an emergency.  Students are encouraged to accrue extra clinical hours just in case an emergency arises and a day of clinicals is missed.

 

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What is considered appropriate dress while I am at my clinical site?

 

The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at Montgomery College has a required uniform of navy blue or white scrubs and a white lab coat that will need to be purchased and worn at all time while at clinicals.  The program works with a uniform retailer that all uniforms are purchased through.  You can purchase your shoes anywhere.  Some clinical sites will require you to wear their hospital scrubs and will provide those to you to wear.  A professional look is very important at all times.  Your clinical site might be looking at you as a future hire.

 

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Are there any other requirements for attending clinicals while in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program?

 

The College requires all students to demonstrate proof of current immunizations and a current physical as well as the ability to pass a criminal background check.  In addition, some sites will require you to have a drug screening before you can begin clinicals at their site.  While enrolled in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program you will need to maintain your CPR certification, in fact, you need to keep CPR certified as long as you are a practicing sonographer.  You can obtain your CPR certification through Montgomery College, the Red Cross and even through area hospitals, churches and community centers in your town.

 

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What advice would a graduating student from the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program give to a prospective student who was considering going into this field of study?

Learn all you can from each site you are assigned to.  Ask questions, observe your clinical instructors, show your sites that you really want to learn everything you possibly can from them.  Never be afraid to ask a question.  Don’t be afraid to ask for scanning time and help in improving your images.  Remember that the ultrasound community is small and the contact you make while at clinicals will come in handy when networking and trying to look for a job.  Having a great experience at all your clinical site will be beneficial to your career in ultrasound.  You never know when or where a job opportunity may arise.

 

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Below is a list of our clinical affiliates and the respective specialties that are practiced there:

 

Montgomery College has affiliations with hospitals, clinics, and doctors' office through out the metropolitan area. The clinical coordinator is responsible for assigning students to their clinical affiliate. Students are required to make-up for lost hours/days in the event of inclement weather or absence. In addition, the following scheduling rules will apply to our clinical affiliates

 

a.  Starting time for Clinical Education centers is set by the institution. A typical clinical shift is eight hours usually between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

 

b.   Clinical schedules will NOT be changed to accommodate student work schedules,  closeness to school, work or home.

 

c.   Clinical schedules may be changed to accommodate required courses at the College when advance notice of at least 2 weeks is provided to the Program Director.

  

 

Clinical Sites

General

Vascular

Echo

Calvert Memorial Hospital
Prince Frederick, MD

 

Children's Hospital
Washington, DC

 

Civista Medical Center
Maryland

 

 

Clinical Radiologist, PA
Silver Spring, MD

 

 

Community Radiology Associates
Maryland

 

Doctor's Community Hospital
Laham, MD

Doctor's Vascular Lab
Rockville, MD

 

 

Frederick Memorial Hospital
Frederick, MD

Georgetown Hospital
Washington, DC

Holy Cross Hospital
Silver Spring, MD

 

HPV Heart
Columbia, Maryland

 

 

Kaiser Permanente
Washington, DC
Maryland

 

Laurel Regional Hospital
Laurel, MD

 

Maryland Perinatal Associates
MD

   

Medstar Montgomery Medical Center

Olney, MD

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

Prince Georges Hospital Center
Cheverly, MD

 

Providence Hospital
Washington, DC

 

 

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital
Rockville, MD

Shady Grove Radiology Associates
Maryland

 

 

Sibley Memorial Hospital
Washington, DC

Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital
Clinton, MD

Suburban Hospital
Bethesda, MD

Veteran's Administration Hospital

Washington, DC

   

Washington Adventist Hospital
Takoma Park, MD

Washington Hospital Center
Washington, DC

Washington Radiology Associates
Bethesda, MD

   
       

 

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