Monroe Maximillian Broad, the son of an Alumnus of the School of Medicine in St Andrews University, kindly bequeathed part of his estate to the Medical School five years ago. This generous donation enabled the purchase of five state of the art cart-based ultrasound scanners manufactured by GE Healthcare. This has enabled our students to gain vital practical experience using ultrasound technology to integrate their Anatomy and Physiology teaching with Clinical Skills training.
For the last 4 years staff at the School of Medicine in St. Andrews University have worked with MDi Medical and GE Healthcare to integrate Ultrasound into the Medical School teaching curriculum. All 3 years of BSc and both years of ScotGEM students are taught elements in Clinical Skills which involve utilising ultrasound. The curriculum, which was designed by Dr Enis Cezayirli, Dr Ourania Varsou, Dr Predrag Bjelogrlic, Mr Fraser Chisholm and Dr Robert Humphreys, continues to develop and improve. Whatever path a medical student takes when they qualify, Ultrasound is a vital skill in medical practice and used widely in many disciplines including Anaesthesia, Cardiology, Vascular and Musculoskeletal practice. In particular, ultrasound is used routinely in medical practice for minimally invasive surgical interventions such as ultrasound-guided biopsy or vascular access (central line insertion).
Skills taught to undergraduate students include e-FAST (Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma), Ultrasound of the Heart (Echocardiography), musculoskeletal ultrasound and upper abdominal ultrasound. A popular part of the training is when homemade phantoms using jelly and al dente penne pasta tubes are used with cocktail sticks to simulate ultrasound guided vascular access. This allows the students to develop and improve dexterity with using ultrasound safely. The ultrasound training has positively impacted on our students’ confidence in developing their skills in this practice.
The School has purchased a further cart based ultrasound scanner to allow for teaching to continue in small groups with the increased intake of Medical Students. More recently the School has also acquired six VScan Air wireless hand-held ultrasound scanners. These state-of-the-art scanners have the ability to link via bluetooth to devices such as iPads running its app and allow more students to engage and participate in the ultrasound sessions. They have great versatility and are increasingly used in point of care ultrasound both in Primary and Secondary Care. Familiarity with this latest development in ultrasound scanning will be a major advantage for our students when they graduate.