Learner Improvement From a Simulation-Enhanced Ultrasonography Curriculum for First-Year Medical Students

J Ultrasound Med. 2017 Mar;36(3):609-619. doi: 10.7863/ultra.15.12025. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Objectives: We describe a simulation-enhanced ultrasonography (US) curriculum for first-year medical students as part of a comprehensive curricular integration of US skills. Our goal was to assess student knowledge and performance of US and determine their satisfaction with the integrated curriculum.

Methods: A committee of basic science, clinical, and interinstitutional faculty developed 7 educational US modules integrated into existing anatomy and physiology courses. First-year students in years 2012 through 2014 were administered a demographic survey and a knowledge-based pretest at the outset of the US program and assessed with a posttest, satisfaction survey, and their image acquisition abilities in an objective structured clinical examination with standardized patients on completion of the program.

Results: Data from 390 students showed a significant increase in knowledge from the pretest to the posttest [t(389) = 58.027; P < .0001]. Students with higher spatial abilities or some previous US experience performed better on the posttest. The objective structured clinical examination results showed that about 83% of the students were able to capture acceptable or marginally acceptable images. Ninety-five percent of students indicated that the US educational experience enhanced their medical education.

Conclusions: Initial results show that we were able to successfully develop, implement, and evaluate performance of first-year medical students on their fundamental knowledge and performance of basic US using a model that emphasized hands-on simulation-enhanced training. Furthermore, most students found the experience to be a beneficial component of their education and indicated a desire for more US training in the medical curricula.

Keywords: curriculum; education; medical student; ultrasonography; ultrasound education; undergraduate medical.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods
  • Educational Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Students, Medical
  • Ultrasonics / education*