An important University of Wisconsin Oshkosh healthcare program has expanded to meet industry demand and provide students with more career options.
The radiologic science program has been renamed medical imaging with two emphasis options. Sonography (ultrasound) was added to the program lineup that also features a radiologic science (X-ray) emphasis.
The new name also allows for expansion of additional options related to the field in the future.
Colleen McDermott, interim dean of the College of Letters and Science, said UW Oshkosh is pleased to to provide the much-needed healthcare science major to students in northeastern Wisconsin.
“Through discussion with regional healthcare facilities, it became apparent that this new collaboration would help alleviate a shortage of appropriately educated healthcare professionals,” she said. “UW Oshkosh is committed to partnering with communities across Wisconsin to create opportunities for students in a variety of professional fields.”
Mallory Janquart, program director and adviser of the medical imaging program, voiced the need to UWO leaders, stressing that the required classes were already in place.
“I was at a meeting at Aurora St. Luke’s and learned there is such a need in the state (for sonography),” she said. “They said they can’t get enough students into their own programs, let alone help other facilities (gain staff).”
Students seeking a bachelor’s degree in ultrasound spend two years on campus, taking general education courses and meeting program requirements. Then, they spend the final two years training at an affiliated medical facility—just as students in the radiologic science emphasis do. The new major is declarable as of Fall 2020.
Currently, hospital sites that will be affiliated with UW Oshkosh sonography are accredited facilities at UW Health in Madison and Aurora St. Luke’s in Milwaukee
Hospital sites that train UWO students in radiologic science are located in Neenah, Marshfield, Madison and Milwaukee, where there are four locations.
Janquart said students who succeed in ultrasound want to help people and are willing to take on the responsibility of making a diagnosis based on the images they collect. The procedures have one-on-one patient contact, and like radiologic science, use extremely high-tech equipment. Sonography uses sound waves to create medical images. Ultrasound procedures may take place in a clinic or hospital setting.
In a job shadow, Janquart saw a vascular ultrasound in a check for blood clots, as well as a carotid artery ultrasound where the sonographer was looking for plaque buildup. She said a patient complained of ankle pain. The sonographer started the procedure at the thigh and continued to the ankle. A clot was located and the patient, who was in an outpatient setting, was transported to a hospital emergency room.
Another type of ultrasound, an echocardiogram, helps determine how each chamber of the heart is functioning and how blood flows in and out of the heart. Abdominal ultrasound might be done if there is cause to check the function of the liver, kidneys or other organs.
Ultrasounds commonly are done during pregnancy to check on a baby’s development.
Janquart said medical imaging is a good field to get into and one with great need.
“All the medical fields need help,” she said. “People are retiring and there are not enough to replace the number leaving.”