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How Does Ultrasound Simulation during High Fidelity Simulation Contribute to the Development of Emergency Ultrasound Skills Amongst Emergency Medicine Trainees?



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The growing worldwide use of clinician-performed ultrasound (CPU) marks a dramatic change in bedside medicine and patient care. With steadily improving portability, accessibility and technology, ultrasound use continues to grow amongst many medical specialties. Likewise, the application of CPU in emergency medicine is increasing. Emergency Medicine (EM) is a medical specialty “based on the knowledge and skills required for the prevention, diagnosis and management of acute and urgent aspects of illness and injury…” (International Federation for Emergency Medicine, 1991). Increasingly, emergency physicians are using emergency department ultrasound (ED U/S) to enhance their assessment of critically-ill patients (American College of Emergency Physicians, 2008). The purpose of this study was to evaluate and describe those aspects of ultrasound simulation (during HFS) that contribute to the development of critical care ED U/S skills. Secondly, it was of interest to assess how a novel ultrasound simulator (edus2) compared to video playback on a laptop in terms of the above-mentioned aspects. The population of interest included both EM trainees and faculty. This investigation was a randomized, prospective, crossover study with two intervention treatments for all participants. In Phase I, EM trainees and faculty from London, UK, were invited to participate in one of four day-long critical-care HFS sessions during which they participated in four critical-care scenarios. Faculty were involved in assisting with session debriefing and feedback. All participants completed two cases with each intervention. In Phase II, faculty in Saskatoon, SK, Canada, were invited to review video recordings of the sessions from Phase I and evaluate the educational merits of the two ED U/S simulation interventions. iii This study produced both quantitative and qualitative data. As this study looked at two interventions and how they could contribute to the development of ED U/S skills, pre- and postintervention changes were analysed for statistically significant differences between them. T-test analyses were used for comparisons. Effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were calculated where statistically significant findings were observed. Qualitative data was assessed through emergent thematic analysis and triangulation. The findings of the study support the integration of ED U/S simulation into HFS. Integration was found to be of value to both trainees and faculty by allowing trainees to demonstrate knowledge of indications as well as correct image interpretation and general integration of ED U/S into critical care (p<0.05). Trainees described an increased motivation to develop their ED U/S skills as well as greater desire to use ED U/S in everyday practice. Furthermore, the edus2 was identified as being the preferred training intervention. The edus2 met functional fidelity through its real time and hands-on applicability. Faculty preferred the edus2 as it allowed for better assessment of trainee skills that then influenced session debriefing and formative feedback. Faculty in Phase II found the edus2 intervention sufficient in offering basic insights into trainee ED U/S skills and mastery (p<0.05). Implications of the study include support for the use of ultrasound simulation during HFS for the development of critical care ED U/S skills amongst EM trainees. Further study on the effects of such hybrid simulation on clinical performance is warranted.



Emergency Medicine, Emergency Department Ultrasound, Simulation



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration


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