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Milestone Approach to Designing a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum for Transition-to-Residency Programs in the United States.

  • Sena, Ariel1
  • Alerhand, Stephen1
  • Lamba, Sangeeta1
  • 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA. , (Jersey)
Published Article
Teaching and Learning in Medicine
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Oct 21, 2020
DOI: 10.1080/10401334.2020.1814296
PMID: 33085534


Phenomenon: Point-of-care ultrasound is fast becoming standard clinical bedside practice for diverse specialties. Medical schools are responding by adding ultrasound education, though the majority use it to supplement the learning of basic sciences. Point-of-care ultrasound practice-based clinical skills education is rare. There also is a lack of standardization across curricula, leading to much variability in the ultrasound skills that medical students from different schools bring to residency. To best inform a point-of-care ultrasound curriculum for our Transition-to Residency program, we investigated literature on 1) how medical students are being prepared for use of point-of-care ultrasound in clinical practice, 2) what skills are being taught, 3) what point-of-care ultrasound skills residency programs expect from incoming residents. Approach: We reviewed literature to identify curricula in U.S. medical schools that teach the concepts, knowledge, and skills related to point-of-care ultrasound. We also mapped point-of-care ultrasound expectations set forth by the Entrustable Professional Activities for undergraduate medical education to the specialty-specific milestones identified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Additionally, we reviewed specialty-specific professional organizations for position statements and guidelines describing the point-of-care ultrasound skills expected for practicing physicians in their respective specialties. The goal was to identify any needs and gaps in education regarding point-of-care ultrasound across the undergraduate to graduate medical education continuum to practice. Findings: We found seven published point-of-care ultrasound curricula for medical students. There was wide variability in these curricula regarding what point-of-care ultrasound content is being taught, as well as when and how this skill is taught. No Entrustable Professional Activity listed point-of-care ultrasound as a skill requirement for graduating medical students. For graduate medical education, there was wide variability across specialties in residency milestones related to point-of-care ultrasound; some (e.g., emergency medicine) listed extensive milestones while others (e.g., internal medicine) listed none. However, we found that many specialty-specific professional organizations do list detailed point-of-care ultrasound expectations for their practicing physicians. Insights: As point-of-care ultrasound is fast becoming common practice across many specialties, standardization of education and related competencies-similar to other clinical skills training-is necessary across medical schools. Mapping point-of-care ultrasound expectations to current teaching across the continuum from undergraduate to graduate medical education may allow schools to tailor point-of-care ultrasound training for Transition-to-Residency programs. We provide a sample pilot point-of-care ultrasound curriculum that we designed for our Transition-to-Residency course.

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