Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving sonography: Spatial ability is key to becoming a successful sonographer, study finds

Date:
October 16, 2010
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Diagnostic ultrasounds are the most widely used medical tests in the world. Though the technology is more than 50 years old, scientists continue to discover new uses for it, ranging from more targeted cancer treatments to liposuction. As the technology becomes more complex, a sonographer's skill level is even more important. Now, researchers may have found one of the keys to becoming a successful sonographer: spatial ability.

Diagnostic ultrasounds are the most widely used medical tests in the world. Though the technology is more than 50 years old, scientists continue to discover new uses for it, ranging from more targeted cancer treatments to liposuction. As the technology becomes more complex, a sonographer's skill level is even more important. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri may have found one of the keys to becoming a successful sonographer: spatial ability.

Related Articles


Doug Clem, clinical assistant professor of MU's diagnostic ultrasound program in the MU School of Health Professions, led the study of ultrasound students' spatial abilities. The study is the first to show how students' spatial abilities correlated to their results on scanning proficiency tests. Spatial ability is the ability to process and understand physical relationships among objects. This is important in sonography because ultrasounds are not like other medical tests, such as x-rays or CT scans. A sonographer cannot capture the entire object at once, but instead must collect a series of images and assemble them into a logical sequential order for a physician to read.

"It's operator dependent," said Sharlette Anderson, clinical instructor of MU's diagnostic ultrasound program. "I can scan the entire liver, but I'm not giving the radiologist images of every millimeter of the liver. I am giving him specific images and anything that I see that looks abnormal. If I miss an abnormality, the radiologist never sees it and the diagnosis is missed."

The study tested first-year ultrasound students' spatial abilities prior to any major coursework. Then, scientists tracked students' results on standard scanning proficiency tests over two semesters. Initially, the study showed little association between spatial ability and scanning proficiency. However, by the end of the academic year, students with greater spatial abilities were much more likely to have scored high on scanning tests.

Clem sees spatial ability tests as a potential consideration for admission to a sonography program. Currently, the program uses academic criteria like grade point average and ACT scores to evaluate undergraduate applications. Other professions, including dentistry and engineering, have used spatial ability testing for years. Spatial ability is affected by genetics, but recent research has shown that individuals can improve their spatial ability. Participating in certain hobbies, such as playing video games, working puzzles and other similar activities can encourage spatial ability development.

"Even though you may be a really strong academic student, you may not learn to scan as easily as other people might." Clem says. "Some of our best students, straight-A students, will need extra time or extra clinical time to get past their scanning competency tests. This poses a challenge for selecting the best candidates for admission, and we think that spatial ability testing may turn out be one more piece of the puzzle that is needed to select the right individual."

The study was published in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Clem worked with Anderson and Moses Hdeib, director of the diagnostic ultrasound program. The team has started a second study, in cooperation with several universities, community colleges and proprietary schools from across the country. Through this larger study, Clem hopes to further validate the results of the first study by increasing the number of students observed. Depending on the results of the second study, the department will consider changing admission requirements next summer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Clem, S. Anderson, J. Donaldson, M. Hdeib. An Exploratory Study of Spatial Ability and Student Achievement in Sonography. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 2010; 26 (4): 163 DOI: 10.1177/8756479310375119

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Improving sonography: Spatial ability is key to becoming a successful sonographer, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008143152.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2010, October 16). Improving sonography: Spatial ability is key to becoming a successful sonographer, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008143152.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Improving sonography: Spatial ability is key to becoming a successful sonographer, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008143152.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) — We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins