Background: The focused ultrasound examination has become increasingly recognized as a safe and valuable diagnostic tool for the bedside assessment of the critically ill patient. We implemented a dedicated on-site critical care ultrasonography curriculum with the goal of developing a model for teaching ultrasound skills to pulmonary and critical care medicine fellows.
Methods: The program was comprised of blended didactic and bedside sessions in the following topic domains: fundamentals; vascular access and diagnosis; and abdominal, thoracic, and cardiac ultrasonography. Formal knowledge and image acquisition assessments were performed before and after the program to assess success in meeting predefined learning objectives. Participants completed surveys (on Likert scale 1-5) before and after the program to assess their confidence in ultrasonography knowledge and skills as well as their perception as to training effectiveness.
Results: The preintervention knowledge and bedside image acquisition scores were 71 and 32%, respectively. The global preintervention score was 51%. All postintervention measures demonstrated significant improvement: 89% (P < 0.01), 86% (P < 0.0001), and 87% (P < 0.0001). Preintervention participant confidence in their ultrasound knowledge and skill was 2.9/5, which improved to 4.3/5 (P = 0.007) after intervention. Participants rated the curriculum as meeting course objectives at a mean of 4.8/5.
Conclusions: At one academic medical center, the knowledge of eight adult pulmonary and critical care fellowship trainees regarding critical care ultrasound was high at baseline; however, bedside image acquisition skills were poor. A dedicated 6-week educational intervention resulted in highly significant improvements in subject knowledge and image acquisition skills. These preliminary results warrant validation studies at other medical centers.