Dr. Cathie-Kim Le of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues evaluated the use of ultrasound simulators to improve the skills of 19 fourth-year medical students who had previous training in point-of-care ultrasound for assessing shock in patients. The students were randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group of 10 was given an ultrasound training curriculum and access to a simulator for two self-directed practice ultrasound sessions over four weeks. The second group of nine students followed the same curriculum but did not have access to the simulator ultrasound training.
Le and colleagues assessed the students' ultrasound image acquisition skills before and after the four-week study period. They also evaluated their understanding of pathological ultrasound findings via a questionnaire in response to two videos of ultrasound scans.
After the four-week study time frame, students in the group with the simulator performed better than those in the control group, both on visual examination (80.1% versus 58.9%) and on practice examination (77.7% versus 57%).
"The use of ultrasound simulators may be a useful tool to help previously trained medical students retain and improve point-of-care ultrasound skills and knowledge," the researchers concluded.
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