Point-of-care Head and Neck Sonography for Clinical Problem-solving: Impact of One-day Training Sessions on Medical Student Education

Cureus. 2018 Dec 17;10(12):e3740. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3740.


Introduction The curriculum for medical student education is continuously evolving to emphasize knowledge acquisition with critical problem-solving skills. Medical schools have started to implement curricula to teach point-of-care ultrasound skills. To our knowledge, the expansion into head and neck sonography for medical student education is novel and has never been studied. Our objective was to determine the feasibility of implementing point-of-care head and neck sonography and critical problem-solving instruction for medical student education. Methods This was a cross-sectional study enrolling third-year medical students with minimal prior ultrasound experience. A one-day educational curriculum focusing on the use of head and neck ultrasound for clinical problem-solving was integrated into one of the week-long intersessions. The components of point-of-care ultrasound workshop included asynchronous learning, one-hour didactic lecture, followed by a pre-test assessment, then a one-day hands-on workshop, and finally a post-test assessment administered at the end of the training session. Results A total of 123 subjects participated in this study. Ninety-one percent completed the questionnaire prior to the workshop and 83% completed the post-test questionnaire. The level of comfort with using an ultrasound system significantly increased from 31% to 92%. Additionally, the comfort level in interpreting ultrasound images also significantly increased from 21% to 84%. Eighty-nine percent (95% CI, 86%-97%) had an interest in learning ultrasound and would enroll in an optional ultrasound curriculum if given the opportunity. Knowledge of specific ultrasound applications also increased from 60% (after asynchronous learning and lectures) to 95% (after additional hands-on sonographic training). Conclusion At our institution, we successfully integrated point-of-care head and neck sonography and critical problem-solving instruction for medical student education.

Keywords: clinical problem solving; head and neck; medical students; sonography; ultrasound.