A National Point-of-Care Ultrasound Competition for Medical Students

Using simulation technologies, learn how gamification and competitions are increasing interest among medical students in learning ultrasonography.

SONOSIM SUMMARY: Since the first recorded “Ultrasound Challenge” in 2006, competition-style ultrasound events have been growing at medical institutions across the nation. From the smaller scale, intra-institutional “Ultrafests” to the nationwide “SonoGames” focused on emergency medicine, the gamification of ultrasound has garnered a foothold at all levels of medical education.

These competition-style ultrasound events have revolutionized the way medical students learn and practice ultrasound techniques. By incorporating elements of gamification, such as challenges and rewards, these events have made ultrasound education more engaging and enjoyable for students. They provide a platform for students to showcase their skills, compete against their peers, and learn from each other in a fun and competitive environment.

At the smaller scale, intra-institutional “Ultrafests” are organized by medical schools to encourage students to explore the field of ultrasound. These events typically include workshops, lectures, and hands-on scanning sessions. Students have the opportunity to learn from experienced ultrasound practitioners, improve their scanning techniques, and gain confidence in their abilities.

On a larger scale, nationwide competitions like the “SonoGames” are focused on emergency medicine and attract participants from medical schools across the country. These events feature a series of challenging scenarios that test the students' knowledge of ultrasound physics, anatomy, and pathology. Participants are required to accurately diagnose and make treatment plans based on the ultrasound findings. These competitions not only enhance students' ultrasound skills but also prepare them for real-life emergency situations where ultrasound is a crucial diagnostic tool.

The gamification of ultrasound has revolutionized medical education by making it more interactive and immersive. It has sparked a renewed interest in ultrasound among medical students and has led to a significant improvement in their scanning skills and knowledge. By providing a competitive and fun environment, these events have transformed the way ultrasound is taught and learned, ensuring that future healthcare professionals are well-equipped with this valuable diagnostic tool.

AIUM’s SonoSlam is the largest ultrasound competition geared exclusively towards medical students with different ultrasound-related challenges. Challenge topics include ultrasound physics and knobology, normal sonographic anatomy and physiology, and live scanning of real pathologies achieved through simulation via SonoSim LiveScan®. During the competition, students acquire and identify normal structures, diagnose pathologic conditions, and integrate ultrasound findings into clinical decision-making.

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound Competition

These gaming events have proven to be an educational success and have stimulated interest in ultrasound education during the earlier years of medical education. Students leave these events improving their scanning skills, increasing their ultrasound image interpretation knowledge and emergency medicine knowledge, and enhancing their confidence about conducting an ultrasound exam. SonoSlam and similar competitions allow students to practice scanning pathologies and making diagnoses and treatment plans with little-to-no risk, enabling them to focus on honing techniques and acquiring knowledge in a competitive, fun way.

Boulger C, Liu RB, De Portu G, et al. A national point-of-care ultrasound competition for medical students. J Ultrasound Med. 2019;38:253-258.

To read the article, visit the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.

SonoSim Keywords: SonoSlam, Medical School Ultrasound Competition

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