Ultrasound in Medical Education: Can Students Teach Themselves?
Med Sci Educ
Introduction: A new technology in medical education is ultrasound simulation, which has been shown to help students learn while reducing load on clinical instructors. The goal of this study is to compare the efficacy of teaching using ultrasound simulators versus more traditional instructor-led sessions with ultrasound machines.
Methods: Ultrasound was used to teach cardiac anatomy and physiology to medical students. Volunteers in one group were instructed using an ultrasound simulator (SonoSim) with built-in lessons; the other group received a traditional instructor-led session with an ultrasound machine. Efficacy of each type of teaching was assessed by measuring improvement from a pre-session test to a post-session test, using a one-sample paired t-test to compare averages between groups. Participants were given a survey to solicit opinions of the lessons.
Results: Twenty-one medical students participated, with 12 in the instructor-led group and 9 in the simulator group. Both groups increased their test scores from pre-session to post-session; the average increase was 5% in the instructor-led and 10% in the simulator group (
Conclusion: Self-guided learning with simulators and traditional instructor-led lectures are both effective for teaching basic cardiac anatomy and physiology via ultrasound. However, most students prefer learning with instructors if given the opportunity. Self-guided ultrasound simulators may serve as an effective standalone learning method or an adjunct to instructor-led sessions.
Cowan B, Brackney A, Barremkala M. Ultrasound in Medical Education: Can Students Teach Themselves? Med Sci Educ. 2021 Aug 4;31(5):1663-1668. doi: 10.1007/s40670-021-01357-0. PMID: 34603838; PMCID: PMC8446115.