Core Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum: What Does Every Anesthesiologist Need to Know?

Meineri M, Bryson GL, Arellano R, Skubas N.
Can J Anaesth. 2018 Jan 16. doi: 10.1007/s12630-018-1063-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Dr. Arellano and colleagues have recently published an article examining the rise in popularity of point-of-care ultrasounds (POCUS) as part of anesthesia practice. They highlight a need for new curriculum development and standardization to include POCUS competency to residency training programs across Canada.


Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is becoming an integral part of anesthesia practice throughout the world. Despite the growing interest in POCUS among trainees and faculty, POCUS training is variable among universities across Canada. This suggests a need for curriculum development and standardization. International guidelines for Emergency Medicine and Critical Care have common frameworks and may be used as a reference to model anesthesia-specific curricula. The Royal College of Anaesthetists of the United Kingdom currently offers the only nationally approved POCUS curriculum for anesthesia and critical care trainees. Most curricula have in common a stepwise approach that consists of foundation of knowledge and skills and competency building through practice. Nevertheless, a significant variety of didactic modalities have been described, and online learning and simulation offer clear advantages. What constitutes the minimum number of studies necessary to achieve competence is still debated as are the most appropriate tools for assessment of POCUS competency. Availability of trained staff anesthesiologists remains a major limitation to curricula implementation in most centres. A National Curriculum should be modeled on the Competency By Design Approach, in line with the CanMEDS 2015 roles, and start with a focus on basic POCUS modalities and applications. Guidance for the training and certification of POCUS among practicing anesthesiologists is lacking.

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