Starting in 2020, post-secondary students can study sonography without leaving the Island.
Sonography is the use of an ultrasound machine for diagnostic purposes. The ultrasound creates an image of internal organs, tissues, and blood flow and the image is called a sonogram. Sonography is used to diagnose pregnancy and internal bodily abnormalities.
With a $1.4 million investment from the provincial government to develop, deliver and launch the course and a capital investment of $4 million for equipment, lab and classroom space, Camosun College will become the first post-secondary institution to offer a sonography program on Vancouver Island at their Interurban campus.
Camosun will offer the two-year diploma program to 16 students starting in May 2020, meaning Camosun could graduate 16 sonographers locally each year from next spring.
Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, said students, health care workers, and patients have been calling on the province to expand sonography training for years. “The new program, a first on Vancouver Island, will empower more professionals to study, work and thrive closer to home.”
Island Health, Camosun College President Sherri Bell, and the provincial government seem to agree sonography is a growing occupation, and training sonographers close to home will not only make life easier for students, it will also help improve patient care on Vancouver Island.
“What’s exciting for us is the students will be trained in general ultrasound but also in cardiac ultrasound, so they’ll be able to be a sonographer not only in the general sense but also in a specialty area,” said Bell.
Bell said she expects many students to move quickly into jobs with Island Health after graduation because the college purchased the same equipment for training Island Health uses, and students complete practical experience with the organization.
“Students have that virtual reality experience of being where they’re going to be working,” she said, “when you go into a field like health, the more hands-on experience and real-life situations you deal with, the more able you will be to deal with situations when you’re working full-time and you don’t have the kind of supervision you would as a student.”
B.C. had roughly 740 sonographers in 2018, and there are an estimated 370 sonography job openings expected between 2018 and 2028. The B.C. Market Outlook 2018 states that sonographers are a high-demand occupation.
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