Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy and Leadership

First Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Second Committee Member

Jayce Farmer

Third Committee Member

Vanessa Fenley

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Bruner

Number of Pages



There has been a longstanding preoccupation with the workforce readiness and competency of our nation’s graduates since the release of the National Commission on Excellence in Education’s, April 1983 landmark report, A Nation at Risk: “The Imperative for Educational Reform”, which indicated that the educational foundations of our society were being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatened our very future as a Nation and a people. Now, more than 35 years since the release of A Nation at Risk, it appears that little has changed. Extensive research continues to report that graduates of post-secondary institutions are unprepared for the workplace because they are missing certain workplace skills. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to identify a specific workforce group and provide information on the education, training, and certification requirements for that group. Additionally, based on the perspectives/comments of more experienced/senior-level employees, this study attempts to describe what skills/competencies are necessary for success in the workplace for that workforce group. Finally, this study provides details on the workforce readiness of entry-level employees as seen through the eyes of their more experienced, senior-level colleagues. A qualitative descriptive methodology was used, and interviews were performed with 12 experienced/senior-level sonographers from the workforce. The results of data analysis revealed that competencies identified in the literature as necessary for success in the workplace (communication, critical thinking, conflict resolution, teamwork, and attention to detail), were important for the success of this workforce group. Additional competencies (sympathy, empathy, compassion, and patience) were also identified as crucial for the success of this workforce group. Participant recommendations for Sonography educators included the need to stress the importance of these customer service skills, through the development of specific competencies/assessments for pre-graduates as they progress through their education and clinical training. Finally, thematic analysis of data revealed four themes related to the competency of entry-level sonographers: (a) positive contribution to the workplace, (b) fear or lacking self-confidence, (c) not taking the initiative, and (d) unrealistic self-expectations. Although participants indicated that their entry-level sonographer colleagues possessed the skills necessary for entry-level employment, they strongly recommended that sonography employers invest in and provide formal mentoring activities to support new graduate/entry-level employees, as they transition from school to work.


Entry-level Employees; Incompetence; Sonography; Workplace Competency


Investigative Techniques | Medicine and Health Sciences

File Format


File Size

1963 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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