Ultrasonography has advanced greatly over the past decade. Not only have the size and cost of the equipment decreased substantially, to the point of the availability of pocket-sized devices with adequate resolution, these advances have also expanded the bedside application in many clinical specialities. Performing ultrasonography requires specialized training: it is not a skill that can be safely taught in a single course or by pure self-study safely and then applied to your patients. Similar to the systems used in the United Kingdom and Australasia, the CMSA elected to adopt a system of credentialing that requires a non-radiologist candidate who wishes to incorporate ultrasound into his/ her daily practice to:
- Attend an accredited introductory training course
- Successfully complete an online quiz
- Perform a total of 65 logged scans supervised by accredited trainers and
- Pass a formal assessment.
As directed by the CEMSA, ultrasonography "is not a substitute for formal ultrasound examinations performed by radiologists, but a limited, goal-directed examination to answer a binary question (yes/no) to assist in the management of an unstable patient. Indeterminate scans and suboptimal images are common and over-interpretation thereof is discouraged. Unless good images are obtained, the findings of the scan should not be included in the decision-making process." There is massive potential and growth in this field, not alone because of the increasing need for safe, non-invasive sonographic procedures that can be performed rapidly at the bedside as opposed to other diagnostic procedures such as the radiation-based X-ray. Up-skill today and increase the benefit to your patients!