Point-of-care ultrasound in urology: Design and evaluation of a feasible introductory training program for Canadian residents
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is an increasingly used bedside tool. Applications in urology include the assessment of an undifferentiated acute scrotum, renal colic, and the guidance of suprapubic catheter placement. However, the user-dependent nature of this modality necessitates appropriate use and competence. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a low-cost, feasible, and guideline-based introductory POCUS program for Canadian urology residents.
Methods: Residents from McMaster University’s urology program completed a three-hour online course, followed by a three-hour hands-on seminar. Course material was developed by ultrasound educators based on national guidelines. Low-cost testicular phantoms and suprapubic catheter insertion models were constructed. Pre- and post-course surveys focused on participant skill confidence, while multiple-choice questionnaires assessed theoretical knowledge.
Results: Fourteen residents participated in the course. Theoretical knowledge in POCUS improved significantly (p<0.001, d=2.2) and mean confidence scores improved for all skills, including performing kidney, bladder, and testicular POCUS (all p<0.001; d=3.4, 1.9, 2.9, respectively). Participants indicated that the course increased their confidence and likelihood of using POCUS in clinical practice, and that POCUS training should be integrated into urology training curricula.
Conclusions: This novel study included the development of an inexpensive, feasible, guideline-based introductory training program for urological POCUS, developed in collaboration with ultrasound educators. Participants significantly improved in theoretical knowledge and skill confidence. Although this study was limited to one residency program, the basis of this course may serve as a foundation for the development of competency-based training for urological POCUS in Canada.
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