Introduction Level 1 proficiency in thoracic ultrasound is a mandatory curriculum requirement for respiratory speciality trainees in the UK. Guidance on attaining and maintaining this competency is outlined by The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR).1 This has been a focus of the GMC survey specialty specific questions.
Aims To further evaluate thoracic ultrasound competencies and training experiences amongst respiratory registrars in England.
Methods We invited all respiratory trainees in England to complete an online survey. Responses were collected between October 2015 and June 2016.
Results 202 (of approximately 600) respiratory trainees completed the survey from 14 deaneries.
65.8% (131/199) trainees are level 1 accredited with 20.6% (22/107) of these performing fewer than 20 ultrasounds in the past year. Figure 1 illustrates the self-reported confidence in identifying pathology.
59% (107/171) of all respondents are never or rarely supervised. 60% (102/169) of queries are answered by real time evaluation or review of stored media. The remaining 40% reported that advice was based on verbal descriptions.
29.2% (50/171) of trainees reported that access to an ultrasonographer for advice was either “not easy” or “impossible”. 9% (15/167) reported that there were no level 1 or level 2 accredited consultants at their current hospital.
Conclusion Most trainees are level 1 accredited, but many do not perform the minimum 20 scans/year to maintain their competency.1 Access to supervision is also limited. Though not a requirement, trainees are less confident in identifying pathology pertinent to acute and respiratory medicine, particularly pulmonary oedema and pneumothorax.
Encouragingly ultrasound training has evolved considerably in recent years, but ongoing work needs to focus on improving supervision and training. There is a case for reviewing current guidance and to consider tailoring training and expectations to align with the specific needs of respiratory registrars.
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