Integrating Basic and Clinical Sciences Using Point-of-Care Renal Ultrasound for Preclerkship Education

MedEdPORTAL. 2020 Dec 9;16:11037. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11037.


Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a valuable asset in bedside clinical care. Undergraduate medical education is increasingly using POCUS as an adjunct tool for teaching anatomy, pathophysiology, and physical exam in an integrated manner. Many medical schools teach content in an organ systems-based format in the preclerkship years. POCUS teaching can be very effectively tailored to specific organ systems. Though pilot curricula for generalized ultrasound education exist, few teach organ systems-based content using POCUS. To address this gap, we designed and implemented an integrated POCUS module to supplement anatomy, pathophysiology, and physical exam teaching in the renal course.

Methods: The module consisted of (1) a 30-minute didactic lecture introducing students to renal ultrasound technique and image interpretation and (2) a practical hands-on skills session. Pre- and postmodule surveys assessed the efficacy and impact of the curriculum.

Results: A total of 31 first-year medical students completed the POCUS renal curriculum. A majority reported that the module positively affected their understanding of renal pathophysiology and the physical exam. They also reported increased confidence in using POCUS to detect renal pathology and make clinical decisions.

Discussion: It was feasible to implement a POCUS curriculum to supplement integrated teaching of renal system concepts in the first year of medical school, and students found POCUS teaching valuable. POCUS provides educators with another tool to integrate basic and clinical sciences with hands-on relevant clinical skills practice in early medical school years.

Keywords: Anatomy; Bladder; Clinical Teaching/Bedside Teaching; Kidney; POCUS; Pathophysiology; Physical Exam; Point-of-Care Ultrasound; Renal; Ultrasound.