Open Access Research article

Teaching ultrasound in a curricular course according to certified EFSUMB standards during undergraduate medical education: a prospective study

Hauke S Heinzow1*, Hendrik Friederichs2, Philipp Lenz1, Andre Schmedt1, Jan C Becker2, Karin Hengst1, Bernhard Marschall2 and Dirk Domagk1

Author Affiliations

1 1Department of Medicine B, University Hospital Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, A1, 48149, Münster, Germany

2 Institute for Education and Student Affairs (IfAS), University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:84  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-84

Published: 11 June 2013



As a non-invasive and readily available diagnostic tool, ultrasound is one of the most important imaging techniques in medicine. Ultrasound is usually trained during residency preferable according to German Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM) standards. Our curriculum calls for undergraduate training in ultrasound of medical students in their 4th year of undergraduate education. An explorative pilot study evaluated the acceptance of this teaching method, and compared it to other practical activities in medical education at Muenster University.


240 medical students in their 4th year of undergraduate medical education participated in the training and completed a pre- and post-questionnaire for self-assessment of technical knowledge, self-assurance of the procedure, and motivation in performing ultrasound using a Likert scale. Moreover, students were asked about their interest in pursuing a career in internal medicine. To compare this training to other educational activities a standardized online evaluation tool was used. A direct observation of procedural skills assessment (DOPS) for the first time applied on ultrasound aimed to independently assess the success of our teaching method.


There was a significant increase in technical knowledge and self-assurance (p < 0.001) of the students’ self-assessments. The clinical relevance and self-motivation of the teaching were evaluated positively. The students’ DOPS results demonstrated proficiency in the understanding of anatomic structures shown in ultrasonographic images, including terminology, machine settings, and transducer frequencies.


Training ultrasound according to certified DEGUM standards was successful and should be offered in undergraduate medical education. The evaluation of the course affirmed the necessity, quality and clinical relevance of the course with a top ranking score of hands-on training courses within the educational activities of the Medical Faculty of Muenster.

Undergraduate medical education; Ultrasound; Ultrasonography; Clinical competence