Comprehensive Ultrasound Course for Special Operations Combat and Tactical Medics


Fatima H, Kuppalli S, Baribeau V, Wong VT, Chaudhary O, Sharkey A, Bordlee JW, Leibowitz A, Murugappan K, Pannu A, Rubenstein LA, Walsh DP, Kunze LJ, Stiles JK, Weinstein J, Mahmood F, Matyal R, Lodico DN, Mitchell J 21(4). 54 - 61 (Journal Article)

Background: Advances in ultrasound technology with enhanced portability and high-quality imaging has led to a surge in its use on the battlefield by nonphysician providers. However, there is a consistent need for comprehensive and standardized ultrasound training to improve ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding of nonphysician providers. Materials and Methods: Our team designed a multimodal ultrasound course to improve ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding of nine Special Operations combat medics and Special Operations tactical medics. The course was based on a flipped classroom model with a total time of 43 hours, consisting of an online component followed by live lectures and hands-on workshops. The effectiveness of the course was determined using a knowledge exam, expert ratings of manual skills using a global rating scale, and an objective structured clinical skills examination (OSCE). Results: The average knowledge exam score of the medics increased from pre-course (56% ± 6.8%) to post-course (80% ± 5.0%, p < .001). Based on expert ratings, their manual skills improved from baseline to day 4 of the course for image finding (p = .007), image optimization (p = .008), image acquisition speed (p = .008), final image quality (p = .008), and global assessment (p = .008). Their average score at every OSCE station was > 91%. Conclusion: A comprehensive multimodal training program can be used to improve military medics' ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding for various applications of ultrasound. Further research is required to develop a reliable, sustainable course.

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