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Resources: Training courses in emergency ultrasonography require a substantial resource commitment and significant advance planning. The below are the basic components necessary for emergency ultrasound courses.
Instructors: Instructors should have expert knowledge in the material being taught and ideally should be trained emergency physicians. Substitution with other allied specialty physicians may be appropriate depending on the lecture material being taught. Registered sonographers can be used to assist teaching during the laboratory session. Because of the focused and clinical nature of emergency ultrasonography, it is recommended that a trained emergency physician be the course director.
Ultrasound laboratory: Appropriate machines and transducers will be necessary. To maximize the hands-on component, no more than five participants per machine should be allowed, and at least one instructor should be present at each station to assist in training.
Ultrasound models: Normal models and patients should be part of the training laboratory, with at least one model necessary at each training station. Appropriate patient models include those with pericardial effusions, cholelithiasis, aortic aneurysms, and chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients (to stimulate hemoperitoneum). Private areas for endovaginal ultrasound are necessary. Full informed consent should be obtained from all models, and a signed waiver of responsibility is recommended.
Syllabus: A syllabus or standard text is recommended for all courses. The material supplied should supplement the lecture presentations and meet the goals and objectives of each lecture.
Site: The ideal site will have two separate rooms to accommodate the lecture and laboratory stations without disassembly. Audiovisual equipment will be needed and will include 35-mm slide projectors, liquid crystal display projectors, and video display capability.
Didactic content: The standard two-day course will include the following topics and primary applications taught in a focused manner over an eight-hour period. In a single application course, the didactics should be taught over a three- to four-hour period and should include introduction, physics/knobology, and the emergency indication. The following goals and objectives of a core curriculum are listed in the Appendix.
Hands-on training: The technical laboratory is an integral component of any ultrasound course. The comprehensive two-day format should have a minimum of six to eight hours of skills laboratory. A single application will require at least two to four hours of laboratory training. In either format, the optimal ratio should be no more than five students per instructor per station. An instructor should demonstrate the proper application protocol for the emergency indication. Inclusion of special skills assessment stations at the end of the course can be a valuable teaching tool.
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians. ACEP Emergency Ultrasound Guidelines — 2001. Ann Emerg Med 2001: 38:470-481.