Ultrasound Microcredential: A Novel Method to Enhance Ultrasound Education




Weindruch, Louisa
Miller, Cassidy
Wyszynski, Katy


0000-0003-4046-7775 (Wyszynski, Katy)
0000-0002-7573-6077 (Weindruch, Louisa)

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Purpose: Over the last several years, access to ultrasound has increased dramatically, making point of care ultrasound (POCUS) a diagnostic standard across many medical specialties. It is cost effective, non-invasive, and becoming even more portable. Physicians can now take ultrasound where it previously was unavailable, such as rural areas, ambulances, and foreign countries for medical missions. Despite its expanded use and applicability, many medical schools remain behind in developing and implementing ultrasound education. Currently, the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC TCOM) integrates ultrasound education into the first and second years of medical education as part of their system courses, physical exam class, and simulations labs. To augment the ultrasound experience and improve students' skill set, UNTHSC has developed three ultrasound microcredential courses. The microcredential program is a two-day course that allows students, residents, and practicing physicians to earn a certification in a specific area of point of care ultrasound. Methods: Under the direction of Dr. John Gibson, students can enroll in one of three microcredential courses -- Primary Care, Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Emergency/Critical Care. Each course is divided into three parts. First, prior to attendance of the in-person workshop, students are required to complete the relevant online SonoSim modules. Secondly, students will attend the 10-hour in-person workshop that culminates with an evaluation of their ultrasound skills. Students are given the opportunity to practice on standardized patients with the help of trained ultrasound teaching assistants. In addition, they must correctly identify pathology and perform simulated ultrasound-guided procedures. Students must receive a certain number of points on a graded rubric during the in-person portion of the workshop. Lastly, following the workshop, participants are required to obtain images on their own using a Butterfly IQ ultrasound. These ultrasound studies are reviewed by UNTHSC faculty. Once students have completed and passed all three components of the workshop, they are awarded the microcredential for that course. Results: The goals of the microcredential are twofold: to demonstrate an effective model for students to learn point of care ultrasound, and to expand ultrasound teaching to residents and attending physicians, to learn new techniques or build upon their current knowledge. We are in the process of evaluating our program using student feedback from a comprehensive post-workshop survey. Preliminary feedback has shown that students enjoy the workshop and find it an effective way to learn ultrasound. Conclusion: Overall, we hope that the UNTHSC POCUS Microcredential Program can be a model for other schools looking to advance their ultrasound training for both students and residents, practicing providers, and other members of their community.