Fetal ultrasound training for obstetrics and gynecology residents

Wesley Lee, Andrea N Hodges, Sterling Williams, Ivana M Vettraino, Beverley McNie
Obstetrics and Gynecology 2004, 103 (2): 333-8

OBJECTIVE: To assess the present state of fetal ultrasound training in the United States from the perspective of obstetrics and gynecology ultrasound program directors and residents.

METHODS: One hundred thirty-six ultrasound program directors from 254 accredited obstetrics and gynecology residency programs completed a web-based survey regarding obstetric ultrasound training for residents. Questions were presented in yes-or-no, ranking, short-answer, and open-comment formats that examined general teaching environment and curriculum content. These results were compared with a mandatory fetal ultrasound training survey that was independently administered to 4,666 obstetrics and gynecology residents during the 2003 Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) In-Training Examination. Friedman one-way analysis of variance was used to compare ranked nonparametric data with the Dunn posttest. Statistical significance was taken at the P <.05 level.

RESULTS: Fifty-four percent of accredited obstetrics and gynecology residencies responded to the survey of ultrasound directors from November 2000 to April 2003. Nearly all responding directors were obstetrician-gynecologists, many of whom had subspecialty training in maternal-fetal medicine. Full-time faculty and sonographers were the most important individuals contributing to ultrasound training for obstetrics and gynecology residents. Hands-on scanning and observation were the most significant educational activities for ultrasound training. Ultrasound program directors generally rated the overall preparedness of residents as ranging from adequate to excellent. The most important learning obstacles were limited curriculum and faculty time. Most programs evaluated competency by direct observation of scanning skills. According to the CREOG survey, only 16.3% of residents indicated that the performance and interpretation of fetal ultrasound examinations were mandatory program requirements. Nearly two thirds of residents believed that their training would be adequate by the time of graduation. Only 18.4% of residents, however, were planning to perform or interpret fetal ultrasound scans in clinical practice.

CONCLUSION: Fetal ultrasound training for obstetrics and gynecology residents is perceived by most ultrasound program directors and residents to be adequate. Future development of standardized guidelines and competency assessment tools should consider that approximately one fifth of obstetrics and gynecology residents are currently planning to use this diagnostic modality in clinical practice.


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