Point of care ultrasound training for internal medicine: a Canadian multi-centre learner needs assessment study Watson, Kathryn; Lam, Ada; Arishenkoff, Shane; Halman, Samantha; Gibson, Neil E; Yu, Jeffrey; Myers, Kathryn; Mintz, Marcy; Ma, Irene W Y
Background: Significant gaps currently exist in the Canadian internal medicine point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) curriculum. From a learner’s perspective, it remains unknown what key POCUS skills should be prioritized. This needs assessment study seeks to establish educational priorities for POCUS for internal medicine residents at five Canadian residency training programs. Methods: All internal medicine trainees [postgraduate year (PGY) 1–5] from five internal medicine residency training programs in Canada (n = 598) were invited to complete an online survey on 15 diagnostic POCUS applications, 9 bedside procedures, and 18 POCUS knowledge items. For POCUS applications and procedures, participants were asked how applicable they are to patient care in internal medicine and the participants’ reported skills in those domains. Self-reported knowledge and skills were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1 = very poor and 5 = very good. Applicability was rated, where 1 = not at all applicable and 5 = very applicable. Results: A total of 253 of 598 residents (42%) participated in our study. Data from one centre (n = 15) was removed because of low response rate (15%) and significant baseline differences between those trainees and the remaining participants. Of the remaining analyzable data from four training programs (n = 238), participants reported highest applicability to internal medicine for the following applications and procedures: identifying ascites/free fluid [mean applicability score of 4.9 ± standard deviation (SD) 0.4]; gross left ventricular function (mean 4.8 ± SD 0.5) and pericardial effusion (mean 4.7 ± SD 0.5); thoracentesis (mean score 4.9 ± SD 0.3), central line insertion (mean 4.9 ± SD 0.3), and paracentesis (mean 4.9 ± SD 0.3), respectively. Overall reported knowledge/skills was low, with skill gaps being the highest for identifying deep vein thrombosis (mean gap 2.7 ± SD 1.1), right ventricular strain (mean 2.7 ± SD 1.1), and gross left ventricular function (mean 2.7 ± SD 1.0). Conclusions: Many POCUS applications and procedures were felt to be applicable to the practice of internal medicine. Significant skill gaps exist in the four Canadian training programs included in the study. POCUS curriculum development efforts should target training based on these perceived skill gaps.
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