Validation of a Novel Ultrasound Simulation Model for Teaching Foundation-Level Ultrasonography Skills to Veterinary Students

J Vet Med Educ. 2021 Jun 1;e20200123. doi: 10.3138/jvme-2020-0123. Online ahead of print.


Veterinary ultrasonography is a complex, advanced skill requiring repetitive exposure and supervision to gain competence. Consequently, newly graduated veterinarians are underprepared and lack the resources to achieve basic ultrasound proficiency upon graduation. Ultrasound simulation has been proposed as an adjunct educational tool for teaching entry-level ultrasound skills to student veterinarians. The objectives of this multicentric prospective observational cohort study were to describe the development of a novel ultrasound training model, establish model construct and face validity, and seek participant feedback. The model was constructed using three-dimensional silicone shapes embedded in ballistics gel within a glass container. A novice cohort of 15 veterinary students and 14 expert participants were prospectively enrolled in the study. Each cohort underwent training and assessment phases using a simulation model. Participants were asked to (a) determine shape location, (b) identify shape type using a shape bank, and (c) measure shape axes using the caliper tool. Time for each phase was recorded. Anonymous post-participation survey feedback was obtained. For most shapes (4/6), experts performed significantly better than novices in identifying shape type and location. Generally, no significant difference was found in mean axis shape measurements between cohorts or compared to the true mean axis measurements. No significant difference was found in scan time for either phase. This study's results support the validation of this ultrasound simulation model and may demonstrate early evidence for its use as a training tool in the veterinary curriculum to teach entry-level ultrasound skills.

Keywords: model; simulation-based medical education; training; ultrasonography; validation.