WCUI CME – From Webinar to Courses: POCUS MSK

As a finale to our first, ever CME Week, the WCUI CME Division hosted leading experts in musculoskeletal ultrasound including author, professor, and radiologist, Dr. Jon Jacobson – University of Michigan, Jeannine Noble – MSK expert and lead instructor for WCUI, Matt Weiss – Butterfly, Director of Strategic Clinical Sales, and Jasmine Rockett – POCUS Academy, Deputy Director of POCUS certification.  

“It helped reinforce what I told them (the patients) was going on in their shoulder, they could see it and trust it more.” –  Physcial Therapist at Rock Run Physical Therapy

From Webinar to POCUS MSK Course

The webinar: Introduction to MSK, brought 72 learners from various backgrounds, geographic areas, and organizations. The feedback from learners led our division to launch a Virtual MSK course utilizing Canvas classrooms, Zoom live lectures, and Butterfly proprietary technology known as Teleguidance for virtual lab. Relying on past learners, referrals, and word-of-mouth awareness, WCUI CME Division focused on what we believe is the core to a successful program:  

  • People: A lead instructor who is well-versed in didactic and hands-on instruction while being clinical experts in the subject and their field 
  • Personalization: Favorable learner to instructor ratio, multi-pronged approach to content delivery, individualized pathways to achieve each learner’s goal(s)
  • Partnership: A commitment on both sides to provide and receive continuous education and build the skill set necessary to elevate patient care 

The result? SOLD OUT. The March cohort included physical therapists, chiropractors, and a physician assistant. Given the virtual nature of the course, our learners came from 3 different states with the ability to learn from the comforts of their home or clinic. The course was separated into two Saturday sessions and included learning and practicing protocols on various anatomy. 

The schedule:

Day 1: Upper Extremity:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Hand

Day 2: Lower Extremity 

  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Foot 

With POCUS MSK, “I’ll be able to better identify tissue changes to help guide plan of care as well as provide patient information about their health status” –  Physical Therapist at Tanana Chiefs Conference

 Our upcoming MSK trainings include a virtual POCUS MSK Course on July 10th and 22,  another virtual course in September, and an advanced hands-on course in the Fall.

 

Additional information about the WCUI CME Division can be found on wcui.edu/cme. Set up a 1-on-1 information session here with our WCUI CME division leaders to find out more about our Virtual and In-person POCUS MSK training and additional programs available to improve your practice. 

On March 18th, 2021 the WCUI CME Division participated in a self-study accreditation interview held by the California Medical Association (CMA) – a subgroup of ACCME, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Association. This key milestone is part of a year-long, accreditation journey to provide ultrasound training for non-sonographers, including but not limited to: 

  • Physicians
  • Physician Associates/Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners 
  • Registered Nurses 
  • Chiropractors 
  • Physical Therapists 

California Medical Association Logo

As part of this self-study, the WCUI CME Division submitted performance in-practice examples from two webinars held by CME in 2020: 

CMA approval is pending with an outcome expected in August 2021. The WCUI CME Division plans to launch multiple courses, both virtually and in-person in various point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) modalities including musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSK), cardiac, and the Generalist certificate. These courses will be available for individual learners as well as with healthcare programs and healthcare facilities interested in expanding their knowledge of sonography to improve their practice.

Additional information about the WCUI CME Division can be found on wcui.edu/cme. Set up a 1-on-1 information session here with our WCUI CME division leaders to find out more about the pending approval from CMA/ACCME and future program offerings associated with AMA PRA 1 credits. 

One of the primary goals for WCUI is to promote the use and benefits of ultrasound technology across multiple professions outside of the sonography field. In doing so, our WCUI CME Division has been tasked with building inroads for point-of-care ultrasound education with non-sonographer communities. In October of 2020, WCUI partnered with Rock Run Physical Therapy in Utah to enhance patient care through a Musculoskeletal Ultrasound POCUS Training Course.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a powerful tool that physical therapists can utilize in their practice to enhance patient care by immediately determining if a patient is or is not a candidate for physical therapy, immediately determining the severity of a patient’s injury, visualizing joints post-treatment sessions, and determining the need for other imaging.

The training with Rock Run focused on upper and lower extremities in musculoskeletal ultrasound and was led by instructor Jeannine Noble PT, RMSK. During the training, Jeannine and the Rock Run Team utilized mediums such as Canvas for didactic material, a hybrid approach consisting of a virtual lab through the use of Butterfly teleguidance, and a hands-on lab training at the Rock Run facility in Roy, Utah.

The training concluded in January of 2021 with rave reviews of the owner of Rock Run, Brandon Hepner. After the course, attendees became comfortable with musculoskeletal ultrasound of the most commonly scanned anatomy, the ability to identify normal and pathological joints on ultrasound, and earned their POCUS Fundamentals Certification and POCUS MSK Certification. We enjoyed our partnership with Brandon and his team and look forward to seeing them continue to utilize these skills in their practice.

As we continue into 2021, WCUI’s CME Division will continue to partner with additional physical therapy groups, nationally in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maryland. As a Certified POCUS Training Provider, the WCUI CME division will work to spread the knowledge of ultrasound and its ability to enhance patient care.

October marks Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month #MUAM which is held annually to spread awareness of the important role sonographers play in the medical community. The goal is to educate the public about medical ultrasound and its many uses throughout a patient’s life. Many people in our community do not realize that ultrasound is utilized in all parts of your life to assess patients from head to toe.

Sonographers are the doctor’s eyes. The images they produce can help detect and diagnose life-threatening diseases. Sonographers are there for their patients during the highs and lows of their healthcare journey. From OB to echo, abdominal to musculoskeletal, and beyond, sonographers have impacted someone’s life and health.

Ultrasound and the Heart

Ultrasound can be used as a diagnostic or screening tool to confirm medical disorders such as issues in the heart. Echocardiography (heart ultrasound), also known as ECHO, is a common way to evaluate the overall function of the heart. It is used to evaluate the flow of blood through the chambers and valves of the heart. It also assesses the strength of the heartbeat and the volume of blood pumped through. Doppler ultrasound echocardiography is often used for the following:

  • Heart valve problems, such as mitral valve prolapse or aortic stenosis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Blood clots due to irregular heartbeats such as in atrial fibrillation
  • Abnormal fluid collections around the heart, such as pericardial effusions
  • Pulmonary artery hypertension

Ultrasound is also useful in testing and detecting problems with most of the larger bloodvessels in the body. Using Doppler Ultrasound Technology, the flow of blood through the vessels can be observed and measured. The narrowing of vessels (stenosis) or widening of vessels (dilatation/aneurysms) can be detected. Ultrasound testing of blood vessels includes:

  • Carotid Ultrasound
  • Abdominal Aorta Ultrasound for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Blood clots in veins

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

A Musculoskeletal (MSK) Ultrasound is a specialized exam that looks specifically at your muscles and joints. MSK ultrasound technologists have special training in looking at muscles, some ligaments, nerves, and tendons. MSK ultrasound is particularly helpful in the diagnosis of orthopedic and sports injuries, such as rotator cuff tears, and chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes, pain or injury is triggered by movement, which cannot be captured in a static image. Ultrasound is performed in real time and can provide unique information that cannot be detected by any other imaging method. MSK ultrasound is used to diagnose a wide range of injuries and chronic conditions, including:

  • muscle tears
  • tendonitis
  • bursitis
  • joint problems
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • and masses such as tumors or cysts. 

Vascular Ultrasound

Sonographers can also specialize in vascular ultrasound, which evaluates the body’s circulatory system. Oftentimes, sonographers will utilize Doppler Ultrasound Technology. Doppler ultrasound will be used to observe and measure the flow of blood through the vessels. Vascular ultrasound is often performed to:

  • help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body.
  • locate and identify blockages and abnormalities
  • detect blood clots (deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the major veins of the legs or arms.
  • evaluate the success of procedures that graft or bypass blood vessels.
  • determine if there is an enlarged artery or aneurysm.
  • evaluate varicose veins.

In children, vascular ultrasound is used to:

  • aid in the placement of a needle or catheter into a vein or artery to help avoid complications such as bleeding, nerve injury, or pseudo-aneurysm.
  • and evaluate a connection between an artery and a vein which can be seen in congenital vascular malformations and in dialysis fistula.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound is used to view structures inside the abdomen, such as:

  • Blood vessels in the abdomen
  • Gallbladder
  • Intestines
  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen

An abdominal ultrasound can help your doctor evaluate the cause of stomach pain or bloating. It can help check for kidney stones, liver disease, tumors, and many other conditions.

Obstetrics/Gynecologic and Pelvic Ultrasound

Obstetrics and gynecologic ultrasound, while known by many to evaluate a pregnancy, can also assess and produce images of the bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and ovaries. Ultrasound images can be used in gynecologic care to diagnose and help treat many diseases and conditions in the pelvic region.

Ultrasound probes come in many different shapes and sizes. In this part of the field, some transducers are used on the skin of a woman’s abdomen, while others are placed inside the vagina by utilizing a transvaginal ultrasound. Transvaginal ultrasound allows the sonographer to get the transducer close to the cervix, uterus, and ovaries which will produce more detailed images to be created.

Ultrasound can also be used to evaluate the:

  • uterus
  • bladder
  • prostate
  • cysts
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • tumors
  • fibroids
  • pelvic pain

We are just touching the surface with the use cases of ultrasound and every day there is advancement in the medical field to utilize safer medical imaging alternatives like ultrasound. The number of sonographers needed to support these advancements and support patients will continue to grow. If you’ve considered a career in sonography, now is the time to pursue it! There is a place in the field for everyone, from sports medicine, children, heart specialists, abdomen, OB/GYN, and more.

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