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A Multifocal Ultrasound Curriculum For Medical Students In Developing Countries

Miguel Montorfano, Omar Cardillo, Leonardo Vera, Lisandro Montorfano, Maria Teresa Ostoich

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Technical and human resources still limit the implementation of integrated ultrasound curriculums in developing countries.

A multifocal ultrasound curriculum introduced 4 years ago at our university that could be applied to start curriculums in scarce resources countries is presented

OBJECTIVE

Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is being increasingly used in many specialties to improve patient care. Many universities have started to develop and introduce ultrasound curriculums for medical students.

In 2006, the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine introduced an integrated ultrasound curriculum (iUSC) across all 4 years of medical school. However, technical and human resources limit the implementation of such formal integrated programs in developing countries.

The aim of this study is to propose an ultrasound curriculum that could be implemented in a medical school in underdeveloped regions

METHODS

In 2015, an elective subject for fifth year medical students, based on clinical multifocal ultrasound training, was introduced at our National University Medical Sciences School as an enhancement of the core curriculum.

It includes general ultrasound physics and principles as well as image acquisition and interpretation from head to toes.

The goal of this subject is for medical students to be able to apply this knowledge as an enhancement of the physical examination in complex critical scenarios, primary care and remote places where urban violence injuries, parasitic diseases and other poverty related diseases are prevalent.

The teaching modalities include live lectures, hands on workshops, presentation of clinical cases, and lectures oriented on how to integrate ultrasound in the decision making process.

Students have to demonstrate competency in all areas by the end of the program.

An anonymous survey was incorporated as an assessment tool of this new ultrasound curriculum by the end of the last rotation.

72 students participated and reflected their opinions.

The following questions were answered in the survey: 1.“What is your opinion about the program?” 2.“Do you recommend it to other students?” 3.“It will be helpful with my future medical practice” 4.“It should be a mandatory subject”

Students were also asked to add comments to improve the subject.

RESULTS

The implementation of the program was feasible because the faculty involved were trainers of WINFOCUS with many years of teaching experience in POCUS and that the university was interested in the development of the program.

A pitfall was the lack of economic resources, which limited the hours of hands on experience.72 students completed the survey at the end of the last academic year. Students were highly satisfied with the program (4.7/5) and stated they will recommend to other medical students (4.9/5).

Students believed it will be enhance their future practice (4.8/5) and they agree that the subject should be mandatory (4.9/5). Students also expressed they would like to have more hands on sessions.

CONCLUSIONS

An integrated ultrasound curriculum to improve patient care should be the final goal of medical schools all over the world.

Due to limited resources, an ultrasound program covering the main needs of the population can be an easy, quick and feasible start for medical schools in developing countries.

Our students were highly satisfied and believed the program will allow them to improve their future practice.

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