In a UK first, medical students at the University of Leeds are to be given ultrasound training during the full five years of their degrees.
The state-of-the-art VScan ultrasound equipment, which is the size of a mobile phone, is increasingly being utilised as a diagnostic aid in clinical medicine. It can be applied in areas ranging from anaesthetics and emergency medicine, to rheumatology, palliative care and general practice.
Dr Richard Wakefield, a lecturer in rheumatology, as quoted in the Yorkshire Evening Post, said: ‘This early introduction of ultrasound will enhance current anatomy teaching, improve clinical skills that will be essential for practice as a foundation year doctor and beyond. It will also improve patient satisfaction and safety’.
Several medical schools in the USA have already taken the initiative to introduce the practice and it is hoped that Leeds will be a lead innovator in the use of ultrasound in medical education in the UK.
The training has received a positive reception from current University of Leeds students, with Rhea Nicholson, a second-year medical student, stating: ‘As this is a diagnostic technique we are likely to be using and interpreting throughout the entirety of our careers, this move by the medical school will be invaluable to us. Any experience we can get at this early stage, in a safe environment where we can learn from our mistakes, is an innovative idea and will be much appreciated by all the students’.
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