Virginia A. Syperda, Puja N. Trivedi, Lauren C. Melo, Morganna L. Freeman, Eric J. Ledermann, Travis M. Smith, James O. Alben. Ultrasonography in Preclinical Education: A Pilot Study. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2008;108(10):601–605. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.10.601.
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Context: Ultrasonography is a valuable diagnostic tool in the clinical setting. Yet, medical students often have minimal familiarity with this technology.
Objective: To evaluate the ability of second-year medical students to use ultrasonography for identification of anatomic structures and pathologic conditions.
Design: A self-directed approach that reduced facilitator involvement, encouraging learning that mimicked the medical school's problem-based learning pathway program.
Methods: Five students were each given 10 hours of instruction in ultrasonographic techniques by three certified ultrasonographers in outpatient and hospital settings. Each student performed 40 hours of organ-specific ultrasonographic scans on another student in 2-hour sessions during 20 weeks. Images were archived for future evaluation and quality rating. Students took a 35-question posttraining examination with 10 contrived case scenarios. Questions were designed to test student knowledge in three categories: anatomic structure, technical skill, and clinical diagnosis.
Results: Posttraining examination results, expressed as the percent of correct answers for all five participants by category, were as follows: anatomic structure, 70%; technical skill, 70%; clinical diagnosis, 68%. Evaluations of the archived images, which were graded for proper anatomic identification and image clarity, yielded the following scores indicating “good” or “fair” quality for each anatomic region: abdominal, 80%; pelvic, 63%; cardiac, 73%.
Conclusion: Second-year osteopathic medical students can attain a sufficient degree of proficiency in limited ultrasonographic technique.
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