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Yamada T, Minami T, Soni NJ, Hiraoka E, Takahashi H, Okubo T, Sato J. Skills acquisition for novice learners after a point-of-care ultrasound course: does clinical rank matter?. BMC medical education. 2018 Aug 22; 18(1):202.
Few studies have compared the effectiveness of brief training courses on point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) skill acquisition of novice attending physicians vs. trainees. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the change in POCUS image interpretation skills and confidence of novice attending physicians vs. trainees after a 1-day POCUS training course.
A 1-day POCUS training course was held in March 2017 in Japan. A standardized training curriculum was developed that included online education, live lectures, and hands-on training. The pre-course assessment tools included a written examination to evaluate baseline knowledge and image interpretation skills, and a physician survey to assess confidence in performing specific ultrasound applications. The same assessment tools were administered post-course, along with a course evaluation. All learners were novices and were categorized as trainees or attending physicians. Data were analyzed using two-way analysis of variance.
In total, 60 learners attended the course, and 51 learners (85%) completed all tests and surveys. The 51 novice learners included 29 trainees (4 medical students, 9 PGY 1-2 residents, 16 PGY 3-5 residents) and 22 attending physicians (6 PGY 6-10 physicians, and 16 physicians PGY 11 and higher). The mean pre- and post-course test scores of novice trainees improved from 65.5 to 83.9% while novice attending physicians improved from 66.7 to 81.5% (p?0.001). The post-course physician confidence scores in using ultrasound significantly increased in all skill categories for both groups. Both trainees and attending physicians demonstrated similar improvement in their post-course test scores and confidence with no statistically significant differences between the groups. The course evaluation scores for overall satisfaction and satisfaction with faculty members' teaching skills were 4.5 and 4.6 on a 5-point scale, respectively.
Both novice trainees and attending physicians showed similar improvement in point-of-care ultrasound image interpretation skills and confidence after a brief training course. Although separate training courses have traditionally been developed for attending physicians and trainees, novice learners of point-of-care ultrasound may acquire skills at similar rates, regardless of their ranking as an attending physician or trainee. Future studies are needed to compare the effectiveness of short training courses on image acquisition skills and determine the ideal course design.