Point-of-care ultrasound education for non-physician clinicians in a resource-limited emergency department.

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Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH

MeSH Headings

Clinical Competence, Curriculum, Developing Countries, Echocardiography, Education, Emergency Medicine, Emergency Service, Hospital, Health Personnel, Health Resources, Humans, Point-of-Care Systems, Radiology, Rural Population, Teaching, Uganda, Wounds and Injuries


OBJECTIVE: To describe the outcomes and curriculum components of an educational programme to train non-physician clinicians working in a rural, Ugandan emergency department in the use of POC ultrasound.

METHODS: The use of point-of-care ultrasound was taught to emergency care providers through lectures, bedsides teaching and hands-on practical sessions. Lectures were tailored to care providers' knowledge base and available therapeutic means. Every ultrasound examination performed by these providers was recorded over 4.5 years. Findings of these examinations were categorised as positive, negative, indeterminate or procedural. Other radiologic studies ordered over this same time period were also recorded.

RESULTS: A total of 22,639 patients were evaluated in the emergency department by emergency care providers, and 2185 point-of-care ultrasound examinations were performed on 1886 patients. Most commonly used were the focused assessment with sonography in trauma examination (53.3%) and echocardiography (16.4%). Point-of-care ultrasound studies were performed more frequently than radiology department-performed studies. Positive findings were documented in 46% of all examinations.

CONCLUSIONS: We describe a novel curriculum for point-of-care ultrasound education of non-physician emergency practitioners in a resource-limited setting. These non-physician clinicians integrated ultrasound into clinical practice and utilised this imaging modality more frequently than traditional radiology department imaging with a large proportion of positive findings.



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