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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Ultrasound Volunteer?
An Ultrasound Volunteer (UV) is a person who volunteers to be the subject of educational ultrasounds by medical students, residents, and physicians using ultrasound. UV’s are used by the University of California, Irvine, Ultrasound in Medical Education Program throughout the School of Medicine and Medical Center to teach and evaluate student and physician ultrasound skills. UVs are examined by students and physicians using bedside ultrasound.
Do the students know we are not real patients?
Yes. Students are told they will be working with UVs but are instructed to behave as though they were working with real patients receiving an ultrasound examination in order for them to reinforced their patient-physician interaction skills and treat all UVs with the same professionalism and courtesies they would offer a patient.
Will I need to take off my clothes?
Sometimes. If the students are working on an area of the body that is typically exposed (arms, legs, face, or neck), then no. In some situations, when students are working on the chest, abdomen, or pelvis, you would be dressed in a hospital gown, draped accordingly to prevent unnecessary exposure. All UVs are asked to wear underwear, loose fitting shorts, and a sports bra for women as well underneath the gowns. You would be notified beforehand what the expected attire and procedures are for the day.
What would be involved in the ultrasound examination?
You would take part in common ultrasound procedures that involve using gel and a plastic transducer for image acquisition. This procedure is considered to be non-invasive use of the technology.
I’ve had a couple of health problems in the past. Can I still be a Ultrasound Volunteer?
Sometimes an individual has a condition that would be very helpful to the student. If you have a current medical condition, please indicate that on the patient profile and we will take this into consideration towards your participation.
I am currently pregnant. Can I still be an Ultrasound Volunteer?
While the risks of ultrasound to the baby and the mother are minimal, the University considers pregnant women to be part of a vulnerable population and asks that they not be placed at any additional risks for education purposes. For that reason, pregnant women cannot be involved.
What types of people do you need?
We are looking for men and women of all ages, physical types, ethnic groups and backgrounds who feel comfortable with minimal exposure of their body to represent the typical patient population that presents to hospitals everyday. Please see the section on “Will I need to take off my clothes?
Do I require any training to be a Ultrasound Volunteer?
Typically, a UV will be asked to arrive 30 minutes before a scheduled session to be oriented on the procedures for the day and what can be expected.
Do I need to know a lot about medicine?
No. You do not need to know anything about medicine, any information necessary for the day will be provided to you.
How often would I be involved?
That is very difficult to say. You will be contacted and scheduled according to the needs of the Ultrasound in Medical Education curriculum, and of course, your availability. You might be scheduled multiple hours in one week, only a few hours over the course of several months or none at all.
Are UVs compensated?
UVs receive NO monetary compensation. UVs are volunteers interested in contributing to medical education without whom the program would not be possible.
How do you choose who will become an UV?
Characteristics we look for are reliability and punctuality, positive attitude due to the repeated examinations; no biases toward gender, race, religion, national origin, or physical characteristics; someone who understands confidential matters; and someone who is comfortable with health professionals and minimal exposure of their body.
This all sounds very unusual and interesting, but I’m not sure whether I would be able to do it well or whether I would like it.
It is unusual and interesting! Most UVs report great satisfaction with this work; however it is understandable that you would be concerned. Hopefully, we have answered some of your questions to better help you understand what is involved. If you have any additional questions please feel free to include them in your profile form or contact us 949.824.1129 or 949.824.1132.

I’m still interested.  What do I do next?
Please go to the UV Profile Form for further instructions and details. Please provide a current photo with your profile. Don’t be concerned if we don’t contact you right away. We will keep your application on file for future needs.