Sonoist: An Innovative Peer Ultrasound Learning Initiative on Canadian Teaching Hospital Wards
Background: Students usually learn point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) on standardized patients, thus lacking opportunities to correlate their ultrasound findings with clinical abnormalities. Sonoist is a student-led initiative aimed at improving ultrasound training with peer-teaching and real patients. We describe here a pilot project of Sonoist, its implementation and evaluation.
Methods: Sonoist was developed by Independent-Practitioner-certified medical students who teach their peers how to scan patients with abnormal clinical findings, then correlating their ultrasound findings with the physical examination. From May 2019 to February 2020, seven sessions were held, with a sessional average of 3 participants and 3 patients scanned. We collected survey data on ultrasound knowledge, participants’ perceived self-improvement, and general comments. Results were grouped by prior ultrasound training (novice n=8, experienced n=12) and year of study (1-4).
Results: 20/23 completed the survey. An increase in ultrasound skill was perceived by 100% of novices and 66.7% of experienced learners. Knowledge about clinical indications for PoCUS improved in 80% of novice and 81% of experienced students; sonographic knowledge improved in 69% of novices and 81.3% of experienced learners. All novices and 91.7% of experienced learners reported that learning ultrasound was useful for correlating with physical exam and clinical diagnosis. All novices and 83% of experienced students preferred peer-to-peer teaching.
Conclusion: Peer-to-peer PoCUS teaching improved medical students’ sonographic and clinical knowledge, and is perceived as useful by students. A combination of early clinical exposure and a less stressful environment from peer teaching may contribute to these results.
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