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Point of Care Ultrasound

Photo by Harold Shapiro

Director: Rachel Liu, BAO, FACEP, MBBCh, FAIUM

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) is defined as ultrasound performed at the bedside by a clinician who has primary responsibility for a patient. It is an imaging tool designed to answer relatively straightforward questions regarding diagnosis and treatment that can be performed quickly, after a clinician has performed a history and physical examination. In students’ formative education, it has been shown to improve understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnostic reasoning, and translation of imaging to physical examination as well as individualized patient care.

POCUS has been part of the pre-clerkship portion of the curriculum at Yale School of Medicine since 2003, but student exposure has grown in recent years. All medical students participate in at least four formal POCUS sessions within the pre-clerkship clinical skills curriculum. These sessions occur using small group, hands on teaching methods, with integration of case-based learning. All of the practice rooms in the Clinical Skills Suite are equipped with POCUS equipment for students to gain additional practice opportunities with their peers. A smaller cohort of students participate in a longitudinal pre-clerkship POCUS elective for more dedicated training and hands-on practice. These students share their knowledge with classmates through peer-to-peer instruction. Taken together, these opportunities give Yale medical students exposure to and practice in an evolving field that is becoming increasingly prevalent in multiple specialties.