Lessons Learned from a Study of the Integration of a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Course into the Undergraduate Medical School Curriculum

Med Sci Monit. 2019 Jun 2;25:4104-4109. doi: 10.12659/MSM.914781.


BACKGROUND Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) diagnosis, performed by a physician at the patient bedside, is routinely used in emergency medicine and critical care. Although training in ultrasonography has become part of the medical school curriculum, POCUS can be challenging for medical students. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a one-day POCUS course in a group of final-year medical students by pre-course and post-course assessment of both diagnostic ability and changes in student confidence levels in making a diagnosis. MATERIAL AND METHODS A prospective study recruited 57 final-year medical students who participated in a one-day POCUS course. Improvement in making decisions and levels of confidence were evaluated before and two weeks after the course, using image-based testing and a self- evaluation questionnaire. RESULTS All 57 final-year medical students attended the course and completed the tests and surveys. The pre-training and post-training test scores of medical students improved from 41.78±12% to 58±13%. Student confidence scores in the post-training assessment significantly increased. The post-training confidence scores were significantly increased compared with the pre-training scores regardless of whether or not the questions were answered correctly (p<0.001). The Dunning-Kruger effect, or cognitive bias, might partially explain this phenomenon. CONCLUSIONS One day of POCUS training integrated into anesthesia curriculum for final-year medical students improved performance in the post-training test scores and improved their confidence scores. Further studies are needed to evaluate this effect and to develop adequate tools to assess medical students.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Education / methods
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Point-of-Care Systems / trends
  • Point-of-Care Testing / trends
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography / methods*