A Novel Point-of-care Ultrasound Curriculum for Air Critical Care Personnel

West J Emerg Med. 2023 Jan 9;24(1):30-37. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2022.12.57599.


Introduction: Point-of care-ultrasound (POCUS) has become ubiquitous in emergency medicine practice for the management of emergent pathophysiology. There is growing interest in its potential as a diagnostic tool in the prehospital setting. Few studies have examined the feasibility or efficacy of curricula targeted at teaching POCUS to prehospital personnel. Our objective in this study was to investigate a curriculum for the extended focused assessment with sonography in trauma (eFAST) exam in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) crews.

Methods: This was a pre/post intervention study of HEMS personnel at a tertiary care center. Subjects were administered a pre-intervention written test and an observed structured clinical evaluation (OSCE). Subsequently, they participated in an educational intervention intended to impart proficiency in performing the eFAST. Subjects underwent post-intervention written exams and OSCEs. We analyzed pre- and post-intervention test performance along with the number and quality of practice ultrasound examinations achieved.

Results: Sixteen subjects were enrolled (62.5% male, mean age 44.1). After undergoing the intervention, the mean written test score increased 22.1% (t=3.41; P <0.001) and the mean OSCE score increased by 64.5% (t=6.87, P <0.001). All subjects met "passing" criteria for the written test and OSCE on their post-intervention attempt. Subjects accomplished a mean of 21.1 clinically interpretable eFAST sonographs. Most subjects reported the curriculum was useful (90.1%) and that they would incorporate this skill into clinical practice (90.1%).

Conclusion: A targeted POCUS curriculum was feasible and effective in establishing clinical proficiency in HEMS crews for performing and interpreting the eFAST exam.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curriculum
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Point-of-Care Testing
  • Ultrasonography