Ultrasound Curriculum

Year 1

Semester 1 – Fall

Physics of Ultrasound

This in-class, lecture-based course investigates all aspects of the principles of ultrasound physics, instrumentation, image artefacts, quality assurance and Doppler. The basic content covered in this course is the foundation from which the students will build their image recognition and assessment skills. The basics of equipment function, set-up and manipulation will be taught using a variety of methods.

Ultrasound of the Abdomen and Superficical Structures

The Ultrasound of the Abdomen and Superficial Structures course explores the normal ultrasound appearances of cross – sectional relational anatomy in the abdomen, superficial structures, venous legs, peripheral arterial system of the legs and arms, carotid vessels and musculoskeletal system using sonographic images. The course will review anatomy and physiology of the organs of the abdomen and superficial structures, vascular and musculoskeletal system. The utilization of laboratory data will be discussed for each of the specific organs. Using the appropriate terminology, the student will learn to critically assess the sonographic image in order to create a technical impression. By the completion of this course, the student will be able to critically assess the normal sonographic image and differentiate between normal and abnormal sonographic images. Using the correct sonographic terminology, the student will create a written technical impression of a sonographic image(s).

Cross-Sectional Anatomy

This course will introduce the students to the cross-sectional and relational anatomy of the head, central nervous system, neck, spine, thorax, abdomen, male pelvis, female pelvis, upper & lower extremities as well as muscles, vessels and the lymphatic system using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) images. The ability to recognize anatomical structures as demonstrated on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) images is essential in all disciplines that utilize diagnostic medical imaging.    This course offers weekly interactive lectures and self-directed anatomy lab tutorials  which provide the student with a stimulating environment in which they may actively apply the knowledge learned through the use of a variety of media including anatomical models, preserved human specimens, cadaver cross sectional images as well as a multitude of hard copy and computer based diagnostic medical images.

Ultrasound Scanning I

This hands on simulation laboratory course will introduce sonographic scanning techniques of the liver, biliary system, kidneys and spleen. Labs will include patient identification, informed consent, patient safety, ergonomics, hand hygiene and professionalism.  You will have many opportunities to practice the various imaging protocols in a simulated laboratory setting.  Competency in performing the procedures will be evaluated throughout the course. Weekly tutorial sessions are used to introduce the new topics, debrief the weekly scanning lab sessions and answer questions that arise from your lab experiences. These topics and skills will be reinforced in USUS123, and SCUS131 and the clinical semesters CLUS130/240.

Professional Practice I

This is the first of two courses dealing with patient care and professionalism. This course will introduce students to principles and application of patient care and professionalism. The student will practice patient care skills and interact with standardized patients. These activities complement activities in concurrent with the USUS112 Ultrasound Scanning 1 course. Topics of professionalism, scope of practice, code of ethics, interprofessionalism, reflective practice, and team work, among others, will also be introduced.  

Semester 2 – Winter

Sonographic Pathology of the Abdomen and Superficial Structures

This course builds upon the content of ABUS 111. This Sonography-based pathology course explores the abnormal ultrasound appearances of multiple human body systems in gray scale and Doppler to include: organs, structures and spaces located in the abdomen, superficial structures (breast, thyroid, scrotum), musculoskeletal system, male reproductive system, extra cranial vessels (including carotid and subclavian arteries), and the upper and lower extremity venous system using sonographic images. The students will critically assess sonographic image(s) using spatial and relational reasoning to recognize normal versus abnormal ultrasound appearances.

The students will learn to correlate clinical history and lab data to the specific sonographic findings in order to create a technical impression and formulate a differential diagnosis using medical and sonographic terminology. The students will also conduct a literature search on a given pathology in order to review professional literature and assess relevance to practice. This is a didactic course that consists of 2 classes of 3 hours in duration weekly.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

This didactic course covers the anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system in both the gravid and non-gravid state, along with fetal development from implantation to birth. All of this information is used in distinguishing between normal and abnormal ultrasound appearances. The student will learn to critically assess the image to create the technical impression and the differential diagnosis that is provided to the physicians. They will do this by integrating the patients’ history with lab data, and the ultrasound appearances.

Ultrasound Scanning II

This hands on simulated ultrasound scanning laboratory course will build on the sonographic scanning techniques from USUS112, the application of patient care skills from PPUS 110 as well as developing the sonographic scanning techniques on the abdominal organs, female pelvis (transabdominal & transvaginal), male pelvis, peritoneum, retroperitoneum, thyroid and salivary glands. The student will be able to competently conduct an ultrasound exam of the complete abdomen as well as conduct a transabdominal female pelvis (Gynecology) as per the protocol and time provided. The student will practice Obstetric and Transvaginal scanning skills on the Transvaginal phantom and the obstetrics phantom. The students will have the opportunity to practice the various ultrasound imaging protocols in a simulated laboratory setting and by scanning each other. The students will practice and show competency in identifying the patient, obtaining informed consent and practicing patient safety skills, ergonomics, hand hygiene and professionalism. Competency in performing the procedures will be evaluated during the four scanning evaluations. Weekly tutorial sessions will be used to introduce the new topics, debrief the weekly scanning lab sessions and answer questions that arise from the lab experiences. These topics and skills will be reinforced in SCUS131 and the clinical semesters CLUS130/240.

Semester 3 – Summer

Ultrasound Simulated Clinical

This course is designed to prepare the student for entry into the clinical environment. The emphasis of this course is for students to become more time efficient in scanning a complete abdomen and a gynecological examination. In addition, students will work on the development of sonographic scanning techniques of superficial structures and Doppler studies. Tutorial sessions will provide an opportunity to introduce weekly topics, discuss technical impressions related to patient cases, and to debrief completed laboratory activities. Laboratory sessions will provide an opportunity for students to practice scanning skills. Students will also be exposed to simulated patient scenarios in the scanning room which are common to Sonographers.

Professional Practice II

This course reinforces the patient care and professionalism skills from the PPUS110 and prepares the student for the clinical semester. Students will learn about infection control, infectious patients and patients who require oxygen therapy. During the tutorial, students will visit a simulated intensive care unit to examine the ancillary equipment that supports the patient. The students will learn to monitor and assess patient’s vital signs. The first step towards interprofessional practice is a solid foundation of your role, other professions and regulatory guidelines. The student will learn about the Regulated Health Professional and the limitations/differences between regulated and non-regulated health professionals. A simulated breast biopsy lab will be held with the Cytotechnology students to demonstrate interprofessional collaboration in a health care environment. The course will focus on the principles and application of patient care skills that will complement the SCUS130 simulated clinical scanning course. The student will build on the history taking and patient care skills with challenging scenarios and interactions with standardized patients. The students will analyze relevant literature in order to learn the need for evidence based practice. The learner will research, analyze and discuss the Health Care Privacy Acts in Ontario in order to be better informed for clinical practice. Each student will be required to visit a clinical site to observe the patient interactions between the sonographer and the patient and to observe patient care techniques. Sonographers scan a variety of patients ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics. Guest speakers from The Hospital for Sick Children and Baycrest Hospital will provide helpful hints to obtaining optimal examinations. The course will provide an orientation and preparation for the clinical semester which begins in the fall.

Year 2

Semesters 4 and 5 – Fall/Winter

Evidence Based Approach to Clinical Practice

This on-line course involves independent study in which the learner will identify peer reviewed literature on a given topic and employ effective search strategies and techniques to conduct a literature search and write a literature review on the topic. The learner will utilize the ecitation management tool called Zotero to format their literature review in Vancouver style. Using the process of Evidence Based Practice the learner will apply the evidence from their literature review to reflect on the impact on their sonography practice and will present their literature review findings in a live online presentation.

CLUS130 and CLUS240
Clinical Practicum I and Clinical Practicum II

The clinical practicum consists of two clinical semesters.  The semesters are specified as either an “Abdomen/superficial structures/vascular” rotation or an “Obstetrics/gynecology” rotation. Each clinical semester is 15 weeks in length. In some cases, the clinical sites request the student stay for the entire 30 weeks. A schedule for each of the specified clinical semesters has been developed so that evaluations can occur in a timely manner. The schedule is posted to the CLUS130/240 folder in Blackboard.

The time afforded to the clinical learning experience is such that it will provide you with ongoing and diverse experience in the clinical environment. The goal of clinical is not simply to complete the objectives, but to gain knowledge and skills from a wide variety of situations and experiences.This clinical practicum is designed to offer the student the opportunity to apply the acquired didactic knowledge learned during the theoretical portion of the Ultrasound program. The student will successfully demonstrate and perform a variety of Ultrasound examination and procedures. The clinical semester is an opportunity to scan and to learn new techniques.  Take advantage of opportunities to observe and/or participate in interventional procedures, MSK scanning and teaching rounds. It is important to keep reading your textbook and review your lecture notes during the clinical semester.

Attendance during all clinical courses is mandatory. If you are sick, contact your Clinical Coordinator or designate. If you are unable to attend clinical because of an unexpected absence, such as an illness or a death, contact your Clinical Coordinator.

During your clinical rotation, if you are not able to obtain all the competencies at your clinical site, arrangements will be made to obtain the competencies at another site. In some cases, the vascular competencies (Extracranial arteries and venous Doppler legs) may be completed and assessed at another site.

During the clinical semester, you will document ONLY the ultrasound examinations that you have completed in the LOGBOOK section in COMPTRACKER. The number of cases listed is a guideline. You will not fail the clinical semester if you have not completed the suggested number of cases. It is important to produce quality ultrasound examinations.