Trained simulated ultrasound patients: medical students as models, learners, and teachers

J Ultrasound Med. 2014 Jan;33(1):35-8. doi: 10.7863/ultra.33.1.35.


Objectives: Medical educators must develop ultrasound education programs to ensure that future physicians are prepared to face the changing demands of clinical practice. It can be challenging to find human models for hands-on scanning sessions. This article outlines an educational model from a large university medical center that uses medical students to fulfill the need for human models.

Methods: During the 2011-2012 academic year, medical students from The Ohio State University College of Medicine served as trained simulated ultrasound patients (TSUP) for hands-on scanning sessions held by the college and many residency programs. The extracurricular program is voluntary and coordinated by medical students with faculty supervision. Students receive a longitudinal didactic and hands-on ultrasound education program as an incentive for serving as a TSUP.

Results: The College of Medicine and 7 residency programs used the program, which included 47 second-year and 7 first-year student volunteers. Participation has increased annually because of the program's ease, reliability, and cost savings in providing normal anatomic models for ultrasound education programs. A key success of this program is its inherent reproducibility, as a new class of eager students constitutes the volunteer pool each year.

Conclusions: The TSUP program is a feasible and sustainable method of fulfilling the need for normal anatomic ultrasound models while serving as a valuable extracurricular ultrasound education program for medical students. The program facilitates the coordination of ultrasound education programs by educators at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Keywords: education; medical student; point-of-care ultrasound; residency.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Healthy Volunteers / education*
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Ohio
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Radiology / education*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Teaching / methods
  • Ultrasonography*