Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 65,
October 2013 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the 2013 American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA October 25-30, 2013.

Medical Student Perceptions Of Point-Of-Care Ultrasound In Musculoskeletal Education.

Kohler1,  Minna J., Rempell2,  Joshua, Seton2,  Margaret

Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA


Point-of-care ultrasound (POC US) is increasingly being incorporated into clinical care among rheumatologists and other specialties to expedite diagnosis and assist in needle and vascular access guidance for improved accuracy and patient safety. POC US is also emerging as an educational tool for medical students for better understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, physical diagnosis skills, and problem-based learning. A survey of students was performed to document student-perceived value in the use of POC US as an educational tool and to assess student interest in rheumatology after POC US exposure.


We describe our experience incorporating POC US into a 2nd year medical student musculoskeletal (MSK) pathophysiology course to introduce basic concepts of arthritis, tendinitis, and crystal-induced arthropathies. A 40 minute case-based lecture describing the use of MSK US in the care of rheumatology patients was provided followed by a 1.5 hour hands-on US session. Instructors guided students (1:5 ratio) to use portable US equipment to scan patients with osteoarthritis, tendinitis, gout, and pseudogout. Anatomic and pathologic findings on US were identified while patients simultaneously described their clinical symptoms. Seven Likert scale formatted questions were administered to survey students after completion of the US teaching session.


Thirty students were surveyed by email. 24(80%) students responded. Among those who responded, prior awareness of US use in rheumatology was reported: 14(58.3%) were somewhat aware of US being used in rheumatology and thought it is used in other specialties, 2(8%) were minimally aware and had not seen it used in other specialties, and 8 (33%) were not aware at all of US use. Twenty-two (91.7%) felt that the hands-on US session added a great deal of value to the course, while 2(8.3%) felt it somewhat added value to the course. All students desired more hands-on US exposure; additionally 4(16.7%) were interested in learning more US by class lectures, and 2(8.3%) desired more class lectures and online didactics. The effects of US exposure on increasing understanding of concepts and increasing interest in rheumatology are shown in the Table.


Effect of Hands-on US Exposure  N (%) 
Better understanding of anatomy 22 (91.7%)
Better understanding of pathology 20 (83.3%)
Better understanding of physical exam skills 12 (50.0%)
Better understanding of physiology 2 (8.3%)
Raised consideration for pursuing rheumatology as a specialty 4 (16.7%)
Wanted to learn more about rheumatology but uncertain what specialty to pursue 14 (58.3%)
Wanted to learn more about rheumatology but wants to pursue another specialty 4 (16.7%)


Hands-on POC US teaching in medical student MSK education is highly valued by students. Exposure to MSK US increased their understanding of anatomy, pathology, and physical exam skills, increased their desire to learn, and additionally increased their interest in learning more about rheumatology as a potential specialty to pursue.

Disclosure: M. J. Kohler, None; J. Rempell, None; M. Seton, None.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Kohler, Minna J., Rempell, Joshua, Seton, Margaret; Medical Student Perceptions Of Point-Of-Care Ultrasound In Musculoskeletal Education. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2013;65 Suppl 10 :974
DOI: 10.1002/art.2013.65.issue-s10

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