I was lucky enough to win a short course with Improve International at the 2016 AVA conference, and recently attended an Introduction to Ultrasound short course in Sydney.
I do a small amount of ultrasound at work, mostly looking at bladders, gall bladders, abdominal free-fluid, and pleural or pericardial effusions in the emergency setting. I can find obvious abnormalities or masses in the liver or spleen, but I would describe my skills as pretty basic.
The course was taken by Sue Ramoo, who is also an internal medicine specialist.
Sue is one of those people who seems like they were born to teach, and she broke the content down into easily understandable elements. She also provided an excellent take-home booklet of resources, which I now have with me at work at all times!
During the course we worked through ultrasound of the abdomen using dogs as models for physical practice; however some content was also covered for cats. We had a lovely bunch of perfectly sedated dogs on whom we were able to practice, and they were of a variety of sizes, ages, and breeds, which was really useful as well. The technical support from Medical Plus was excellent, and they had a representative onsite for the entire weekend who was happy to discuss the ultrasound requirements of different clinics.
The food was also fabulous, and the support staff at ARH in Sydney were all wonderful. Sue was always available to provide hands-on assistance when required throughout the practice sessions in the afternoons, along with some other internal medicine specialists that Improve International had arranged.
The course gave me ample opportunity to practice and a systematic approach to abdominal ultrasound that I have since been able to implement at work. I have much more confidence and picked up some great tips and tricks to help to orientate myself. I also took away a greater understanding of the different technical aspects of sonography and instead of being a bit scared of all of the buttons and settings I now know how to use them to improve my image quality. I cannot recommend this course highly enough if you are looking to improve your ultrasound skills.