Implementation Of A Longitudinal Critical Care Fellowship Ultrasound Curriculum

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Background: The use of point-of-care ultrasound as a diagnostic and interventional tool is rapidly becoming standard of care in critical care medicine; a standardized training curriculum is needed to ensure provider proficiency. Objective: This study aimed to describe a longitudinal critical care ultrasound (CCUS) curriculum in a pulmonary critical care medicine (PCCM) fellowship training program. It evaluated the curriculum’s impact on fellows’ knowledge, skills, and self-reported confidence and retention of these attributes. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of a longitudinal CCUS training program within a single PCCM fellowship training program. Knowledge, skills, and confidence of 22 fellows were assessed at baseline; after initial training; and at 6, 12, and 18 months in five domains (ultrasound basics, vascular, lung/pleural, abdomen, and cardiac). We quantified changes in CCUS knowledge, confidence, and skills by fellowship class and assessed for longitudinal retention of these three attributes. The difference in scores between new first-year fellows undergoing formal training and second-year fellows with previous informal training was compared at matched time points. Results: After the initial formal training, there was a significant increase in knowledge, skills, and confidence scores, which were maintained or continued to increase up to 18 months. Fellows with 1 year of formal training also had a higher level of knowledge and skills than fellows with 1 year of informal training, although they had similar levels of self-reported confidence in their skills. Conclusion: A formal, longitudinal CCUS curriculum implemented in a PCCM fellowship program improves trainees’ knowledge and skills in various ultrasound domains in addition to their confidence in using ultrasound for patient care. A longitudinal curriculum results in retention of all three attributes and appeared to be more effective than an informal training program based on teaching during rounds, but this needs to be replicated in a larger cohort.

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