Evaluating a longitudinal point-of-care-ultrasound (POCUS) curriculum for pediatric residents

BMC Med Educ. 2021 Jan 19;21(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02488-z.


Background: POCUS is a growing field in medical education, and an imaging modality ideal for children given the lack of ionizing radiation, ease of use, and good tolerability. A 2019 literature review revealed that no US pediatric residency programs integrated obligatory POCUS curricula. Our objective was to provide a formalized POCUS curriculum over multiple years, and to retrospectively assess improvement in resident skills and comfort.

Methods: During intern year, pediatric residents received didactics and hands-on scanning opportunities in basic POCUS applications. Their evaluation tools included pre- and post-surveys and tests, and a final performance exam. In the second and third years of residency, all participants were required to complete 8 hours per year of POCUS content review and additional hands-on training. An optional third-year curriculum was offered to interested residents as career-focused education elective time.

Results: Our curriculum introduced POCUS topics such as basic and advanced cardiac, lung, skin/soft tissues and procedural based ultrasound to all pediatric residents. Among first-year residents, application-specific results showed POCUS comfort level improved by 61-90%. Completed evaluations demonstrated improvement in their ability to recognize and interpret POCUS images. Second- and third-year residents reported educational effectiveness that was rated 3.9 on a 4-point Likert scale. Four third-year residents took part in the optional POCUS elective, and all reported a change in their practice with increased POCUS incorporation.

Conclusions: Our longitudinal pediatric residency POCUS curriculum is feasible to integrate into residency training and exhibits early success.

Keywords: Curriculum development; Emergency medicine; Medical education; POCUS; Pediatrics.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography