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  • NSRJ Editor

Ultrasonography Training in Radiology Residency Programs: A National Survey

Arghavan Sharifi

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Introduction: Ultrasound (USD) imaging has been a significant imaging modality and diagnostic tool in the recent decades. In the current workflow of U.S. radiology departments technologists perform the USD and radiologists interpret the study based on the stored images. Occasionally, when there is complex anatomy or complicated disease entity, radiologists are asked to perform the USD and provide the final interpretation. Many radiology residency programs have established dedicated USD training rotations to ensure that trainees develop strong foundations in interpreting USDs; however, there is no robust curriculum for teaching residents how to perform USDs. Comprehensive training in performing USDs during radiology residency is crucial if radiologists are expected to maintain a significant role in this imaging modality. This study aims to evaluate the current curriculum of USD training among radiology residency programs via a national survey. Materials and Methods: A 28-question survey was distributed among all academic U.S. radiology departments via email. The survey consisted of four sections: general information, training information, clinical competency, and adequacy of training. Survey participants scored the ordinal questions on a 5-point Likert scale anchored between 1 (totally agree) and 5 (totally disagree). T-test and one-way analysis of variances (ANOVA) were utilized and the results were analyzed for statistical significance. Results: 256 residents from 32 states completed the survey. 98% of residents (n=251) reported having a dedicated rotation for interpreting USDs while only 45% (n=115) reported having a dedicated rotation for performing USDs. Additionally, 90% of residents (n=228) believed that they received adequate experience for interpreting USDs while only 27% (n=66) had the same belief about performing USDs. Working with the USD machines was another obstacle for the residents, as only 45% (n=116) felt comfortable operating them. Overall, clinical competency and perspective scores were significantly higher among residents who had a dedicated rotation for performing USDs in their residency program (p<0.001 and p<0.001). Conclusion: The majority of U.S. radiology residents do not feel confident to perform USD examinations by themselves; however, the level of confidence is higher for interpreting USDs. This is partly due to the lack or short length of a dedicated rotation for performing USDs and absence of a standard training curriculum

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