Point-of-care Ultrasound (POCUS) is becoming an important diagnostic tool for internal medicine and ultrasound educational programs are being developed. An ultrasound course is often included in such a curriculum. We have performed a prospective observational questionnaire-based cohort study consisting of participants of a POCUS course for internal medicine in the Netherlands in a 2-year period. We investigated the usefulness of an ultrasound course and barriers participants encountered after the course.
55 participants (49%) completed the pre-course questionnaire, 29 (26%) completed the post-course questionnaire, 11 participants (10%) finalized the third questionnaire. The number of participants who performs POCUS was almost doubled after the course (from 34.5 to 65.5%). Almost all participants felt insufficiently skilled before the course which declined to 34.4% after the course. The majority (N = 26 [89.7%]) stated that this 2-day ultrasound course was sufficient enough to perform POCUS in daily practice but also changed daily practice. The most important barriers withholding them from performing ultrasound are lack of experts for supervision, insufficient practice time and absence of an ultrasound machine.
This study shows that a 2-day hands-on ultrasound course seems a sufficient first step in an ultrasound curriculum for internal medicine physicians to obtain enough knowledge and skills to perform POCUS in clinical practice but it also changes clinical practice. However, there are barriers in the transfer to clinical practice that should be addressed which may improve curriculum designing.