I’m a 2010 graduate from UQ. Since then, I’ve mostly worked in small animal practice in Brisbane and Melbourne, and always with a strong focus on developing internal medicine skills. I also completed an internship in internal medicine and passed membership exams a few years ago. I take pride in the somewhat specialised skills that I’ve developed, but despite seeing hundreds of ultrasounds performed by specialists, my practical skills were nowhere near as good. In that sense, I think I came at this course with a different experience type than some of my colleagues, but still was able to get just as much out of it!
I felt that the intro to ultrasound course would give me an opportunity to start from scratch with technical skills and theory, and was hoping for a structured framework with which to create a platform to do some of my own ultrasounds in practice.
I’ve completed some other online distance education courses and have often felt that the lack of practical experience means that the information isn’t really cemented in, and I don’t come away with defined new skills. I was hoping that a practical course for ultrasound would be different – and it was FANTASTIC!
The weekend was packed full, with approximately half the time taken up with lectures, and the other half with practical small group hands-on time. Our instructor, Dr Sue Ramoo, was full of great tips and tricks for us to take back to practice, but also gave us excellent structure with respect to how to perform and record an ultrasound study. The other great aspect of the coursework was the attention paid to how to use our machines effectively. Sue quickly worked out what equipment we were working with every day and was able to give us specific, tailored advice on how to get the best out of our machines in both the lectures and practical experience.
The practical experience was definitely the most worthwhile aspect of the course, and what separates it from many other offerings. Working in groups of 3 or 4, we had a full 4 hours each afternoon to rotate through specific parts of the abdominal ultrasound in a task-oriented approach, following patterns and instructions to be able to confidently identify normal structures. To have uninterrupted time to practice ultrasounding is so difficult to achieve in practice, and having Sue and her colleague Chris over our shoulder and even sometimes directing our hand on the probe was SUPER HELPFUL. There were 2 tutors for about 14 participants, so it meant that each group had an instructor looking over their shoulder and giving advice for more than half of the practical time.
I’ve really come back to practice with a much more structured approach to performing my own ultrasounds, and have already been testing myself and attempting more than I would have before. I also know how much practice is ahead of me to really become proficient, but feel much more empowered than I did prior to doing the course – even despite having so much prior experience with watching lots of ultrasounds!
Thanks for a great course, Improve!