Like many aspects of healthcare, sonography (ultrasound imaging) is continually changing. The equipment, the technology and the diverse applications are advancing every year. As the industry is changing, so is the training. Most educational institutes have used a mix of classroom, hands on practice in the lab and hands on practice in the clinical environment, but there is a newer trend in training that has shown to be an asset to the learning process.
Refer to journal article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/uog.1119/full
This article provides information on simulators and their application for training obstetrical (fetal) ultrasound. This information was collected in 2004 and the outlook was promising that simulation would be the wave of the future. The next more recent blog article is from just one company that now produces these simulators and comments on all the different applications that simulators can be used for.
I believe ultrasound simulation is a valuable tool in training. Too often during training, students express their insecurities about scanning certain body parts, pathology and obstetrical patients that are not available to practice on prior to entering the clinical environment. Also, as class sizes increase, the clinical experience is getting more difficult to guarantee that each student has ample experience with certain cases and pathology. The competency level involved in scanning certain body parts, pathology and obstetrical tends to be primarily theory based when first entering a clinical rotation. But, by having access to simulators, the students are gaining practical experience during lab sessions prior to entering the clinical environment. The students are more confident and the patients are increasingly willing to be part of the training experience.
We were pleased to receive our first simulator for obstetrics just last winter at BCIT. The simulator will be introduced into training in the fall and I am excited to be part of this changing trend in sonography training.