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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Simulation-based point-of-care ultrasound training: a matter of competency rather than volume

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BACKGROUND: Point-of-care ultrasonography plays an increasingly important role in the initial resuscitation of critically ill patients but acquisition of the skill is associated with long learning curves. The skills required to perform ultrasound examinations can be practiced in a simulated setting before being performed on actual patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the learning curves for novices training the FAST protocol on a virtual-reality simulator.

METHODS: Ultrasound novices (N = 25) were instructed to complete a FAST training program on a virtual-reality ultrasound simulator. Participants were instructed to continue training until they reached a previously established mastery learning level, which corresponds to the performance level of a group of ultrasound experts. Performance scores and time used during each FAST examination were used to determine participants' learning curves.

RESULTS: The participants attained the mastery learning level within a median of three (range two to four) attempts corresponding to a median of 1 h 46 min (range 1 h 2 min to 3 h 37 min) of simulation training. The ultrasound novices' examination speed improved significantly with training, and continued to improve even after they attained the mastery learning level (P = 0.011). Twenty-three participants attained the mastery learning level.

CONCLUSION: Novices can attain mastery learning levels using simulation-based ultrasound training with less than, on average, 2 h of practice. However, we found large variations in the amount of training needed, which raises questions about the adequacy of current volume-based models for determining ultrasound competency.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume62
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)811-819
Number of pages9
ISSN0001-5172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

ID: 56253523