University of Sunderland students given early access to ultrasound equipment

The university's Medical School is working to raise awareness of the importance of ultrasound in early medical education

Published: 29 November 2023 Ultrasound

The University of Sunderland Medical School, in partnership with equipment supplier MDI Medical, is raising awareness of ultrasound in early medical education by giving students a chance to use the equipment.

The delivery of four GE Ultrasound machines to the school will allow medical students to familiarise themselves with ultrasound technology earlier in their education, in preparation for their clinical placements.

Ultrasound is recognised as a “valuable tool” for teaching living anatomy by medical educators, MDI Medical said.

'Students need frequent opportunities'

Debs Patten, professor of anatomy at the University of Sunderland Medical School said: “We want to prepare our students for their forthcoming encounters with Point of Care Ultrasound and so we have incorporated ultrasound scanning into our medical curriculum from week one of medical school. 

“We recognised that students need to have frequent opportunities and sufficient time in class to scan using high quality imaging technologies, so having enough cart-based equipment to do this was essential. We find the handheld devices are good for short teaching sessions and outreach work.”

'A really valuable tool'

Professor Patten said that with repeated practice students can recognise sonoanatomy and find structures themselves. She described the ultrasound learning experiences as enjoyable and memorable, and that the use of “Scan Coach” software on the larger portable ultrasound machines supports skill development.

She added: “This is a really valuable tool which helps in several ways: it guides probe positioning, and highlights relevant anatomical landmarks, references ultrasound images of normal anatomy, provides examples of common pathologies and it provides instructions on gaining specific views.”

MDI Medical works with and supplies 60 per cent of medical schools across the UK.

Josh Turley, MDI Medical’s Ultrasound Sales Manager, said: “Incorporating ultrasound technology into the curriculum not only enhances the teaching of the living anatomy and physiology, it also ‘demystifies’ ultrasound for students at an earlier stage in their careers, giving them an advantage should they go on to attend more formal ultrasound training.”