In the healthcare field, injury to medical staff is regrettably common. The jobs of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare workers require physical exertion, being on the feet for most of a shift, and holding uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. The same can be said of sonographers. Proper ergonomics, however, can alleviate the chance of injury, which is why the importance of an ergonomic workstation for sonographers is very high. Below are some common injuries sonographers experience and some ergonomics that can help them avoid these injuries.
Common Locations of Sonographer Injury
Shoulder injuries are common in sonographers due to the required movement of the shoulder and arm when performing an ultrasound scan. To decrease the chance of injury, the sonographer should hold the scanning arm horizontal to the patient couch rather than at a greater or lesser angle. The system should be within easy reach of the other arm in order to avoid injury from overextension.
Back and Neck
Sonographers often injure their backs and necks from twisting them at the wrong angles or bending too far toward the patient during an ultrasound scan. The sonographer can avoid this twisting and over-stretching through correct positioning of themselves, patient, and system in relation to one another. The sonographer should be able to see both the patient and system without needing to twist to view one or the other. They should also position the patient close enough to the sonographer that the sonographer does not need to stretch to reach the patient.
Hands and Wrists
It is common for sonographers to sustain hand or wrist injuries due to their grip on the transducer. They should hold the transducer in a power grip, in which all fingers are wrapped in a circular grip around the transducer. When maneuvering the transducer, the sonographer should turn the transducer itself within the hand, rather than bending the wrist being. The sonographer’s grip on the transducer should be firm but not too tight.
How Ergonomics Can Help
The right kinds of ergonomics can be used to reduce injuries to sonographers while they perform their job duties. It is advisable for all sonographers to have access to an ergonomic ultrasound chair. These chairs are fully adjustable in height and seat length, and they can be used in a number of supportive positions, meaning each sonographer will be able to perform ultrasounds in the position they find most comfortable. Having an adjustable ultrasound table for the patient is also helpful because the sonographer can then also adjust the height of the table and position of the patient to put the patient within easy, comfortable reach of the sonographer.
Through something as easy as providing proper ergonomics, you can show your sonographers that you care about their health and well-being. The importance of an ergonomic workstation for sonographers comes from the ability of ergonomics to significantly decrease the occurrence of injury in the medical field. Start taking steps towards protecting your healthcare workers, including sonographers, from further injury.