Bedside ultrasound education in Canadian medical schools: A national survey


  • Peter Steinmetz Dept of Family Medicine, McGill University
  • Octavian Dobrescu
  • Sharon Oleskevich
  • John Lewis



point-of-care ultrasound, bedside ultrasound, ultrasonography, medical education, medical school, medical students


Background: This study was carried out to determine the extent and characteristics of bedside ultrasound teaching in medical schools across Canada.

Methods: A cross-sectional, survey-based study was used to assess undergraduate bedside ultrasound education in the 17 accredited medical schools in Canada. The survey, consisting of 19 questions was pilot-tested, web-based, and completed over a period of seven months in 2014.

Results:  Approximately half of the 13 responding medical schools had integrated bedside ultrasound teaching into their undergraduate curriculum. The most common trends in undergraduate ultrasound teaching related to duration (1-5 hours/year in 50% of schools), format (practical and theoretical in 67% of schools), and logistics (1:4 instructor to student ratio in 67% of schools). The majority of responding vice-deans indicated that bedside ultrasound education should be integrated into the medical school curriculum (77%), and cited a lack of ultrasound machines and infrastructure as barriers to integration.

Conclusions: This study documents the current characteristics of undergraduate ultrasound education in Canada.

Author Biography

Peter Steinmetz, Dept of Family Medicine, McGill University

Peter Steinmetz M.D. is assistant professor in the Departmentof Family Medicine and director of the Undergraduate Bedside Ultrasound Course at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, a course he founded in 2013. He also co-designed and implemented a bedside ultrasound course for Family Medicine residents at McGill University in 2013. As director of the Ultrasound Training Program at the Arnold and Blema Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre at McGill University, he teaches ultrasound courses to students, residents, and practicing physicians. His multimedia textbook and iBook “Bedside Ultrasound-Level 1” is designed to teach ultrasound at the beginner level and has been awarded the Prix d'excellence for its contribution to continuing education and the popularisation of science. He has been recognized for his medical leadership and education through recent university awards (Hingston Grant, Meakins Award, C.A.R.E. Grant) and has been invited to teach bedside ultrasound in Asia (Thailand) and Africa (Rwanda). He is currently a senior staff physician in Medicine and Intensive Care at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal.




How to Cite

Steinmetz P, Dobrescu O, Oleskevich S, Lewis J. Bedside ultrasound education in Canadian medical schools: A national survey. Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2016 Apr. 2 [cited 2022 Jul. 1];7(1):e78-e86. Available from:



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