Nobody has ever said that ultrasonography is child’s play. But can channeling our inner child help physicians-in-training learn how to use such a complicated device? Bharat Kumar, MD MME FACP RhMSUS, clinical assistant professor in Immunology and Associate Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director, has created a 150-page musculoskeletal sonoanatomy coloring book that substitutes long lists and bland diagrams for visual aids that can be customized and colored using everyday crayons, markers, and coloring pencils.
“The coloring book is an innovative and essential tool for rheumatology fellows at the University of Iowa interested in musculoskeletal ultrasonography,” Kumar said. “By coloring muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments, learners can train their brains to see the structures pop out from the screen. They can also learn at their own pace and create mental links that are more personal and work for them.”
According to Kumar, musculoskeletal ultrasound machines—which mostly display black and white, often grainy, images—can be intimidating for beginners. Training learners to see the structures as well as the spatial relationships between them is key to getting the most out of ultrasound examinations.
Additionally, Kumar has collected data from fellows to assess the efficacy of this educational intervention. His results suggest that the coloring book appears to promote long-term retention of knowledge and a greater interest in certification among rheumatology fellows.