Workshop E: Integration of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Preclinical Medical Education

Integration of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Preclinical Medical Education


Lindsey A. Claus, M.S., Brett Cassidy, B.A., Minali Prasad, B.A., Jessica Landau-Taylor, B.S and Jonathan Wisco, Ph.D.

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BUSM first-year medical students have had significantly reduced in-person clinical exposure over the 2020-2021 academic year, leading preclinical students to seek additional hands-on learning experiences for the 2021-2022 academic year. Additionally, over the past few years at BUSM, preclinical students have identified interest in further clinical exposure. To address this area of growth for the preclinical curriculum, we identified point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) as a method of helping students learn anatomy and gain practical clinical skills.

Teaching POCUS during preclinical years is an exciting new avenue for engaged learning. Recently published work by Blackstock and Carmody at New York University School of Medicine and Alerhand et al. at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School have demonstrated successful implementations of practical ultrasound education within the preclinical curriculum. As Dr. L. Dee Fink describes in Creating Significant Learning Experiences, ideal learning experiences should involve an engaging and high-energy process that creates lasting lessons that students can incorporate in the future. Along with current trends for increased team-based and problem-based learning experiences in preclinical education, we see hands-on POCUS training as an excellent means of directly connecting anatomy and pathology with future clinical work.

Target Audience:

Faculty, staff, and students interested in learning more about the use of ultrasound in preclinical medical education

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, participants will:
Describe the importance of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in clinical practice
Discuss the connection between POCUS preclinical education and current trends in medical education toward active, group-based learning
Analyze our pilot curriculum which uses POCUS to supplement anatomy and physical exam teaching for first and second-year medical students
Explore integrating basic and clinical science through hands-on learning
Evaluate ways to measure student performance in our pilot course elective

Session Outline:

(10 min) Introduction: Review learning objectives

(15 min) Curriculum Model:

Basics of Ultrasound and Anatomy (Fall 2021):
Six enrichment sessions covering cardiac, abdominal, neck, head, ocular, upper & lower extremity US
Pre-test, didactic portion, hands-on learning, post-test
Clinical elective (Spring 2022):
Five clinical skills sessions covering FAST exam, hepatobiliary/kidney/bladder, MSK and DVTs, thyroid/parathyroid exam, and echocardiogram
Pre-test, didactic portion, hands-on learning, post-test
Optional open-practice sessions
Post-course survey to evaluate effectiveness

(35 min) Demo: Demo an abdominal US session and share the learning materials for the exercise

(20 min) Break-out rooms: Discuss benefits and challenges of hands-on learning in preclinical curricula

(10 min) Wrap-Up: Feedback, Q&A