Ultrasound education in the COVID-19 frame
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work, the way we interact with our patients and the way we provide the best medical care. Ultrasound practice and education was not an exception, and suddenly we find ourselves chained in restrictions that cannot be ignored.
In this the new pandemic era, the ultrasound transducer remains a powerful and needed medical tool that can be safely used. Despite our initial fears, we now realize that we can perform ultrasound examinations without jeopardizing the safety of our patients and our own safety. Personal protective equipment and additional hygiene measures in health care facilities can make it possible for us to keep up with our training skills. In addition, the pandemic also opened the door to online learning and to make more use of the digital educational resources that many professional organization/societies provide for students, including EFSUMB. The online platform includes examination techniques video, a course book, a basic ultrasound image atlas and a weekly US image challenge.
The COVID-19 forced us to stop, but now it is time to get our students back on track, to get them back to the ultrasound rooms and hands-on sessions, as long as safety measures are strictly met (ultrasound equipment disinfection, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment – facemask, gloves, limiting the number of participants, everyone has to keep a 1.5 m distance). For more guidance on how to keep a safe environment for teaching ultrasound, tutors can apply some of the measures issued in the WFUMB position paper: How to perform a safe ultrasound examination and clean equipment in the context of COVID-19. Moreover, to make the procedure even safer, the possibility of using training models and phantoms for ultrasound training seems a very good option in this context. However, students need to get used to this “new way of life”, as long as they need to learn ultrasound. That is the way we are planning to slowly get back to a “new normal” for student ultrasound education in Portugal. Our patients and our students need our skills, so let’s continue with our mission.
“Adaptability is not limitation. It means power of resistance and assimilations.”
EFSUMB Student Committee
05 October 2020 (online)
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