Hands-On Ultrasound Training for Radiology Residents: The Impact of an Ultrasound Scanning Curriculum

Acad Radiol. 2023 Sep;30(9):2059-2066. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2023.01.027. Epub 2023 Mar 12.


Rationale and objectives: Radiologists are responsible for interpreting ultrasound (US) images accurately, troubleshooting, aiding sonographers, and advancing technology and research. Despite this, most radiology residents do not feel confident performing US independently. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of an abdominal US scanning rotation and digital curriculum on radiology residents' confidence and skills in performing US.

Materials and methods: All residents who were rotating in pediatric US at our institution for the first time were included (PGY 3-5). Those who agreed to participate were recruited sequentially from July 2018 to 2021 into (A) control and (B) intervention. B had a 1-week US scanning rotation and US digital course. Both groups completed a pre-and post-confidence self-assessment. Pre-and post-skills were objectively assessed by an expert technologist while participants scanned a volunteer. At completion, B completed an evaluation of the tutorial. Descriptive statistics summarized the demographics and closed questions. Pre-and post-test results were compared using paired-T tests, and effect size (ES) with Cohen's d. Open-ended questions were thematically analyzed.

Results: PGY-3 and 4 residents participated, and were enrolled in A (N = 39) and B (N = 30). Scanning confidence significantly improved in both groups, with a greater ES in B (p < 0.01). Scanning skills significantly improved in B (p < 0.01) but not A. Eighty per cent of questionnaire responders used the integrative US tutorial and found it helpful. Free text responses were grouped into themes: 1) Technical issues, 2) Didn't complete course, 3) Didn't understand project, 4) Course was detailed and thorough.

Conclusions: Our scanning curriculum improved residents' confidence and skills in pediatric US and may encourage consistency in training, thus promoting stewardship of high-quality US.

Keywords: Medical education; Radiology curriculum; Radiology education; Ultrasound.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Pediatrics
  • Radiology* / education
  • Ultrasonography