PRCC’s new Sonography program hopes to shore up a need in medical community

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September 21, 2022

Pearl River Community College’s new Diagnostic Medical Sonography program is providing local training to meet a need in the medical field.

Students practice diagnostic sonography techniques.

“Our medical community is suffering from a shortage of qualified sonographers,” said Micki Jo Robertson, director of PRCC’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at the Forrest County Campus.

“We are currently the only program in South Mississippi. Our students will gain wonderful clinical experience from local hospitals and clinics who are working with us as clinical sites. I hope that in turn, these students will pour back into the community by joining our local workforce once they graduate.”

Entry level sonography salaries in this area range from $52,000 to $65,000.

“This is a twelve-month program,” said Robertson. “Students will receive an Associate’s of Applied Science upon completion as well as be qualified to sit for the American Registry for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) test. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree of any type or completion of a two-year allied health program.”

Robertson holds an Associate’s of Applied Science degree from PRCC’s Radiologic Technology program, and an A.S. in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She has served the local community as a staff technologist, a radiology manager, and radiology director at Merit Health Wesley. She has also worked in women’s healthcare at the Women’s Pavilion of South Mississippi.

Robertson’s clinical coordinator is Kendall Conerly, who was a PRCC Wildcat and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She has 11 years of experience in the field of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She has held positions as staff technologist, lead technologist, ultrasound supervisor, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, and Director of Radiology.

“I am thrilled in my current endeavor of educating future Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,” said Conerly. “The long-term vision and goal of these efforts are for this program at Pearl River Community College to become the state and national standard for education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.”

Students in PRCC’s first Diagnostic Medical Sonography program include from left: Nadia Rowland of Hattiesburg, Erin Thomas of Hattiesburg, Carly Thornhill of Foxworth, Marshall Thornhill of Purvis, Lauren Wheat of Petal, Jyla Williams of Vicksburg and Darrian Pierce of Venice, La.

The Sonography program begins in August and runs for 12 months. Only 15 students are accepted into the program.

Robertson said Diagnostic Medical Sonography uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of organs, masses, fluid collections, and vascular structures within the human body.

“Sonography is user dependent, requiring competent and highly skilled professionals to be a part of the integral health care system,” said Robertson.

“Sonographers have extensive, direct patient contact, providing care to a variety of people from healthy to critically ill. The sonographer is responsible for obtaining pertinent patient history, performing the sonographic examination, providing for the needs and comfort of the patient during examination, and recording anatomy and pathology or other data for interpretation by the supervising physician to aid in diagnosis.”

She also said Sonographers must have knowledge of normal structure and functional anatomy of the human body and use independent judgment in recognizing the need to perform procedures according to sonographic findings.

For information about the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, call 601-403-1831, email: mjrobertson@prcc.edu; or visit the Forrest County Campus on U.S. 49 South. 

To apply, go to: https://www.prcc.edu/academics/plans/health-nursing/sonography/apply

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

Article by Chuck Abadie.