Innovative ultrasound education for healthcare professionals

Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is supported by evidence and is fast emerging as a key imaging technology that impacts on medical and clinical patient care affording accurate and timely diagnosis of lung pathology including pneumothorax, pleural effusion, pulmonary oedema and atelectasis at the bedside.

Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive, uses no radiation and provides real-time information that impacts on clinical decision making for better patient outcomes.

Within the cardiac surgery setting ultrasound provides a valid and reliable means of monitoring and assessing sternal stability facilitating timely management to avoid progression to sternal infection following a median sternotomy for cardiac surgery.

The interdisciplinary team within the University of Melbourne Mobile Learning Unit including members from Medicine, Nursing and Physiotherapy have collaborated to design and develop a blended education and training program for clinical ultrasound.

Professor Alistair Royse leading a clinical ultrasound ward round.
Professor Alistair Royse leading a clinical ultrasound ward round.

The program includes online education, a supervised practical workshop, facilitator led and self-guided training using high fidelity ultrasound simulators in the University of Melbourne Ultrasound Simulation Centre and mentored clinical ultrasound ward rounds with our multidisciplinary team.

As this is the first blended learning education program to include all four modes of teaching and learning delivery, the team are evaluating the outcomes in the form of a research project that investigates knowledge acquisition and translation of ultrasound imaging skills within the clinical setting.

Happy ward round
Enthusiastic health professionals following clinical ultrasound ward rounds L-R; Hannah Pinkerton, Adam Bonser (NUM) Vi Ha, Kirstin Tirant, Lani Nankervis, Sok Cheng, Clinical mentors: Associate Professor Doa El-Ansary and Lynda Tivendale.

This project has been awarded The Lynly S Aitken Travelling Fellowship – highly commended as part of the Annual Nurses awards at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The mentored clinical ultrasound ward rounds have impacted on clinical care with significant pleural effusions being observed and communicated to the medical staff for timely clinical intervention.

The patients have expressed gratitude on obtaining feedback about their recovery and the interdisciplinary team is using the information to collaborate regarding patient care.

Our team hope to translate this education and training program to other clinical areas that may include medical wards, Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Department.

For more information on the Lung and Sternal Ultrasound Courses for Nurses and Physiotherapists contact mobile-learning@unimelb.edu.au