Training in bedside exam offers opportunity

Fellows from around the region and even some farther corners continue to come every year for the Midwest Fellows Critical Care Ultrasound Symposium. This year, the growth was not in the numbers of fellows traveling for training in point-of-care ultrasound for two days, but in the number of faculty members assisting in the training.

Now in its seventh year and its fourth hosted by the University of Iowa, the ultrasound symposium draws first-year critical care fellows and faculty from institutions mostly around the midwest. They spend two days training in the principles of ultrasound use in a mix of lecture and hands-on practice with simulated patients.

The sessions began with an overview of some of the basics for the full group. How to hold the transducer, why more gel is better than less, why air is the enemy, which organs are more anechoic than others. Once those baselines were set, the group divided in half, with some staying behind for more site-specific instruction before switching with the other half who had moved right into hands-on practice.

At the end of the first day, as they have done every year that the University of Iowa and the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine has hosted the event, fellows and faculty reconvened at the Clear Creek Trail. The trail runs alongside the Iowa River through Coralville and features some of the sights and sounds that make up some of Iowa’s best features.

“Every year along the trail,” Greg Schmidt, MD, symposium organizer, said, “I overhear someone say something about having to see about moving here.” Schmidt believes that the bike ride, followed by a catered outdoor event at his home, does as much to advertise the benefits of living and working here as does the rigorous training they offer in the daytime sessions.

The second day offers more of the same, with the added benefit of familiarity and comfort with newfound friends and reunions with old colleagues. More than 60 fellows and close to 20 faculty members spend intense, close-up practice mastering skills that have been shown to provide outsized benefit to intensivists.

By the end of that second day, fellows who had never picked up a transducer before arriving in Iowa City have a solid base from which to hone their skills as they develop experience with a tool that many see as useful and common as a stethoscope.

The organizers want to thank everyone who traveled to attend, both fellows and faculty, as well as division leadership for their continued support of the symposium.

Participating Institutions
Loyola University
Medical College of Wisconsin
National Jewish Health, Denver
Rush University
University of Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Iowa, Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care
University of Iowa, Department of Internal Medicine
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Nebraska
University of New Mexico
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Learn more about the ultrasound symposium by reading our coverage and seeing photographs from previous years.

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