Frequently asked questions on MSK Ultrasound training...
I am interested in training in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound and using it within my practice. What qualifications do I need?
Surprisingly, there is no specific required competency in musculoskeletal ultrasound to be able to use it. A Sonographer is not a protected work title, and there are no recognised qualifications that you must have to use ultrasound. This makes it very accessible, however it must be used responsibly and that is certainly something that The Ultrasound Site are keen to support! We would recommend that people wishing to use MSK Ultrasound in the workplace look to local competencies and guidelines with regard to this. It will depend on where you use it, how much you will utilise imaging in your management of patients and as mentioned the local guidance. We would certainly recommend having links with a Radiology department for prompt referrals and opinions, and only use ultrasound with areas that you are confident in interpreting. We certainly would recommend completing a CASE accredited course, which would be one way of demonstrating a universally accepted level of competence and requires a University accredited course. Alongside a period of working with local supervised practice and developing a portfolio. This is one way in which an accepted qualification can be achieved.
You can also complete an Introductory course, of which there are many in the UK including some that we run here. This may be sufficient to provide you with the awareness you require in your setting. However, this does not provide you with a qualification. If you complete an introductory course, you should continue to seek supervision and guidance to develop and maintain your competency.
Where can I find a CASE accredited MSK Ultrasound course, I have been searching google but not found any?
This is one of the main reasons why this website was developed. To provide a hub of information for clinicians, to save them time but also to facilitate the development of responsible use of MSK ultrasound. Ultimately, you can find all the current CASE accredited courses we are aware of here, nice and easy eh!
How do I know if a weekend introductory course is of good quality?
There is no guidance on what weekend courses should cover. Peers opinions, well qualified tutors to CASE level, and high students:scanner/tutor numbers are a must! You should hope and receive alot of hands on time , scanning to develop an appreciation of how ultrasound can change you practice. You don't want to be in a group of 20 participants using one machine for example!
I wish to do a CASE accredited course, or other course, but it requires me to have a mentor and I am having difficulty accessing this through my workplace.
Many people find that obtaining a supervisor for practice can be very difficult. Unfortunately, most courses require between 150-250 supervised scans which, obviously, requires a lot of time working with a supervisor. We recommend that you contact local sonographers and radiology departments to see if they are able to offer you some of this time. Equally, we hope to develop a network of scanning practitioners who are able to offer supervised practice, however, trusts may require some payment for these sessions.
How do I maintain my CPD with ultrasound?
There are numerous short course in ultrasound currently available, some of which are advertised through this site. When training, people would be advised to focus on the main areas where they are likely to practice. Obviously, over time, this may change. Also, scanning techniques can change and it is good to access courses which provided regular updates and also provide some peer review of your scanning technique.
We are interested in purchasing an ultrasound for our department, however, we are having difficulty with funding.
Providing a business case to your manager’s can be difficult. Within this website we elicit much information which supports the use of diagnostic ultrasound and how it can change patients management from a Physiotherapy perspective. We are encouraging people to share business cases that they have submitted to help colleagues across the country to persuade managers that this is an effective way of investing within their department. We are also looking at medico-legal and potential reduced costs in referring for other forms of diagnostics.
We have agreed funding to purchase the machine, however, I am unsure which machine to purchase and different people are giving me different advice.
There are a number of good ultrasound machines now available on the market and things are much more competitive. Technology is improving all the time, along with reducing costs. Within this website we have tried to provide some information on ultrasound machines, however, first of all it is deciding on a price range budget, and also deciding the scope of things that you are likely to be scanning. You can then look at machines within those parameters. We will hopefully update this website with useful information of peoples’experience of different types of ultrasound machines and we always try to stay impartial and objective. There is a degree of subjectivity to it in terms of certain people just prefer one machine over another, so it is good to get several reps in to show you the machines. We would also encourage, if you are quite new to ultrasound, to have somebody more experienced with you for these sessions so they are able to ask some more probing questions and also to help you to identify the strength and weaknesses of the machines that you are being shown. Pete Gettings, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist wrote an article here on purchasing a machine.
As always, get in touch if you have any queries..don't be scared! [email protected]