Graduate medical education is being transformed from a time-based training model to a competency-based training model. While the application of ultrasound in the perioperative arena has become an expected skill set for anesthesiologists, clinical exposure during training is intermittent and nongraduated without a structured program. We developed a formal structured perioperative ultrasound program to efficiently train first-year clinical anesthesia (CA-1) residents and evaluated its effectiveness quantitatively in the form of a proficiency index.
In this prospective study, a multimodal perioperative ultrasound training program spread over 3 months was designed by experts at an accredited anesthesiology residency program to train the CA-1 residents. The training model was based on self-learning through web-based modules and instructor-based learning by performing perioperative ultrasound techniques on simulators and live models. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated by comparing the CA-1 residents who completed the training to graduating third-year clinical anesthesia (CA-3) residents who underwent the traditional ultrasound training in the residency program using a designed index called a “proficiency index.” The proficiency index was composed of scores on a cognitive knowledge test (20%) and scores on an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) to evaluate the workflow understanding (40%) and psychomotor skills (40%).
Sixteen CA-1 residents successfully completed the perioperative ultrasound training program and the subsequent evaluation with the proficiency index. The total duration of training was 60 hours of self-based learning and instructor-based learning. There was a significant improvement observed in the cognitive knowledge test scores for the CA-1 residents after the training program (pretest: 71% [0.141 ± 0.019]; posttest: 83% [0.165 ± 0.041]; P < .001). At the end of the program, the CA-1 residents achieved an average proficiency index that was not significantly different from the average proficiency index of graduating CA-3 residents who underwent traditional ultrasound training (CA-1: 0.803 ± 0.049; CA-3: 0.823 ± 0.063, P = .307).
Our results suggest that the implementation of a formal, structured curriculum allows CA-1 residents to achieve a level of proficiency in perioperative ultrasound applications before clinical exposure.