Bedside ultrasound education in Canadian medical schools: A national survey

Peter Steinmetz, Octavian Dobrescu, Sharon Oleskevich, John Lewis


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.


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

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Copyright (c) 2016

CMEJ ~ Canadian Medical Education Journal
Jennifer O'Brien PhD, Managing Editor, University of Saskatchewan; E-mail:

ISSN 1923-1202