Ultrasound Training in Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency: A National Portrait

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

To understand current training in obstetric and gynecologic ultrasound.

BACKGROUND:

Modern obstetrics and gynecology practice requires the frequent use of ultrasound (US) and therefore US training has become an important part of resident education. We sought to understand how residents are currently being trained in obstetric and gynecologic US by surveying residency program directors.

METHODS:

We developed a 36 item self-administered questionnaire targeted for residency program directors (PD). PD from all 261 accredited programs were invited to participate. We inquired about US curriculums, time spent in US training, types of US taught, learning environments and instructors, feedback regarding resident competence and resident input of the learning experience. IRB approval was obtained prior to study onset.

RESULTS:

We received 108 completed responses. PD from all geographical US areas and Canada responded. PD self-described their programs as 52% university based, 28% community based, 18% combination of university/community based and 2% military. Over 65% reported US education was built into the curriculum as a distinct rotation. Of the US rotations >50% were described as a one month separate block. 40% stated 1–4 hours week devoted to US education. 99% said supervised instruction was the norm with the majority of teachers being MFM physicians/sonographers. A mixture of observational and hands-on ultrasound experience is the norm for most programs. Over 76% PD gave residents US reading assignments and have formal lectures, mostly by MFM and REI faculty. Less than 20% of programs supported any experience with ultrasound simulator training. 90% of PD give formal feedback to the residents about their skills. Only 69% state that their residents can evaluate the learning experience.

DISCUSSION:

We recount details of the current status of US education in OB/Gyn residency programs as reported by PD across the country. Our questions were designed to understand the amount of time actually committed to ultrasound education. With the inception of widespread US need in the daily life of obstetrics and gynecology the challenge of ensuring adequate resident training exists. More structure and protected learning time may assist in resident training. Simulator training for US education seems underutilized.

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