The University of Iowa has now crossed the halfway mark when it comes to hosting this event. Three of the six times the Midwest Fellows Critical Care Ultrasound Symposium has met, they have done so in Iowa City. There are a lot of good reasons for this, not least of which is that Iowa is fairly centrally located among the 11 institutions that sent 63 fellows for point-of-care, or bedside, ultrasound training. As intensivists have begun to incorporate it into their standard diagnostic practice only in the last decade or so, available expert instruction has not quite caught up to demand.
“Hosting allows us to advertise a little, too,” Dr. Greg Schmidt confides. Each year, the professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine has worked to incorporate elements that showcase Iowa’s unique qualities. In addition to the two days of lecture and hands-on training for first-year fellows, Dr. Schmidt arranges an evening bicycle ride for attendees each year. With the bicycles provided by the University of Iowa’s Outdoor Rental Center (ORC), guests this year got to experience a glorious Iowa evening ride along Clear Creek Trail, followed by a dinner at Dr. Schmidt’s home.
Though demonstrating just what Iowa has to offer in terms of amenities is a nice perk, the clinical training is what brings the fellows here each year. Nearly twenty faculty members also accompanied the fellows in attendance from University of New Mexico, Northwestern University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Kansas, the University of Wisconsin, Denver’s National Jewish Health, University of Nebraska, Creighton University, and Chicago’s Loyola University, Rush University, and the University of Chicago.
Those faculty members prove crucial in staffing the many hands-on instructional sessions and assessments that happen over the course of the symposium. Faculty provide detailed instruction on the mechanics of specific ultrasound targets in large-group lectures, which are then immediately followed by hands-on practice. Each of the clinical observation rooms in the Medical Education Research Facility allows two to three fellows the opportunity to practice their newfound transducer manipulation skills and interpretational acumen on both live-model participants as well as a practice mannequin. Faculty members staff each of the rooms to offer instruction and immediate correction on technique.
Near the end of the symposium, Dr. Schmidt offered his thanks to everyone involved in yet another successful year. The faculty and fellows who rearranged clinical schedules and traveled to be here, Division Director Dr. Joe Zabner for his ongoing financial support of the event, ORC for the bikes, and the division support staff members including Amy Gingerich and Samantha Bredlau for their operational and organizational skills in coordinating and executing such a complicated production. Planning for next year’s event is already underway.