Introduction The objectives of this study were to determine if a multimodular introductory ultrasound course improved emergency medicine intern confidence in performing a point-of-care ultrasound and if our educational objectives could be met with our chosen structure. Methods This is a prospective, observational study evaluating three consecutive incoming emergency medicine residency classes from three residency programs. A one-day introductory ultrasound course was delivered. The course consisted of 1) flipped classroom didactics, 2) in-person, case-based interactive teaching sessions, and 3) check-listed, goal-driven, hands-on instruction. Results Over three years, 73 residents participated in this study. There was no significant difference in performance on the written test (p = 0.54) or the skills assessment (p = 0.16) between years. Performance on the written pre-test was not a predictor of performance on the skills test (R2 = 0.028; p = 0.19). Prior to training, residents were most confident in performing a focused assessment with sonography for trauma examination (median confidence 5.5 (interquartile range (IQR): 3 - 7) on a 10-point Likert scale where 1 represents low confidence and 10 represents high confidence). They reported the lowest confidence in performing a cardiac ultrasound (3 (IQR: 2 - 6)). Following training, residents reported increased confidence with all applications (p < 0.001). Eighty-five percent (confidence interval (CI): 73, 92) of residents agreed that the online ultrasound lectures effectively teach point-of-care ultrasound applications and 98% (CI: 88, 100) agreed that case-based interactive sessions helped them understand how ultrasound changes the management of acutely ill patients. Conclusions A written test of knowledge regarding the use of point-of-care ultrasound does not correlate with procedural skills at the start of residency, suggesting that teaching and evaluation of both types of skills are necessary. Following a multimodular introductory ultrasound course, residents showed increased confidence in performing the seven basic ultrasound applications. Residents reported that an asynchronous curriculum and case-based interactive sessions met the learning objectives and effectively taught point-of-care ultrasound applications.
Keywords: emergency medicine; multimodular; orientation course; point-of-care ultrasound; residents.