Open Access Open Badges Original article

Can medical learners achieve point-of-care ultrasound competency using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator?: a pilot study

Adam R Parks1*, Paul Atkinson123, Glenn Verheul123 and Denise LeBlanc-Duchin24

Author Affiliations

1 Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, 100 Tucker Park Road, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4 L5, Canada

2 Emergency Department, Saint John Regional Hospital, 400 University Ave, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4 L4, Canada

3 Memorial University, 230 Elizabeth Ave, Saint John, Newfoundland A1B 3X9, Canada

4 Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick Saint John, 100 Tucker Road, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4 L5, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

Critical Ultrasound Journal 2013, 5:9  doi:10.1186/2036-7902-5-9

Published: 19 November 2013



Point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) is currently not a universal component of curricula for medical undergraduate and postgraduate training. We designed and assessed a simulation-based PoCUS training program for medical learners, incorporating image acquisition and image interpretation for simulated emergency medical pathologies. We wished to see if learners could achieve competency in simulated ultrasound following focused training in a PoCUS protocol.


Twelve learners (clerks and residents) received standardized training consisting of online preparation materials, didactic teaching, and an interactive hands-on workshop using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator (CAE Vimedix). We used the Abdominal and Cardiothoracic Evaluation by Sonography (ACES) protocol as the curriculum for PoCUS training. Participants were assessed during 72 simulated emergency cardiorespiratory scenarios. Their ability to complete an ACES scan independently was assessed. Data was analyzed using R software.


Participants independently generated 574 (99.7%) of the 576 expected ultrasound windows during the 72 simulated scenarios and correctly interpreted 67 (93%) of the 72 goal-directed PoCUS scans.


Following a focused training process using medical simulation, medical learners demonstrated an ability to achieve a degree of competency to both acquire and correctly interpret cardiorespiratory PoCUS findings using a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator.

Emergency medicine; Simulation; Medical education; Ultrasound; Echocardiography