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Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)

Why Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) for Physician Assistants?

  • Research has demonstrated that POCUS increases diagnostic confidence, decreases treatment delays, and increases patient safety
  • Physicians have been using POCUS as an adjunct to physical exam for over 15 years
  • Currently 62% of medical schools include POCUS in their curricula
  • Nine medical residencies require POCUS for graduation

Physician assistants work in collaboration with physicians, with many PAs performing the same duties. If the next generation of physicians is competent in POCUS, PA students have to be as well. Here at NSU you will have the opportunity to learn basic POCUS skills as part of the PA curriculum.

The NSU PA POCUS initiative is directed by Rachel Krackov, Ph.D., MPAS, PA-C RVS, a PA and certified sonographer. Each program has a faculty Ultrasound Coordinator who works closely with Dr. Krackov to ensure that all NSU PA students receive the same level of POCUS education. The initiative also includes continued faculty POCUS training and development opportunities. 

Students are exposed to POCUS from the very beginning in anatomy and medical imaging and conclude the didactic year with 16-hours of hands on skills training. The skills sessions end with the Shark SonoSlam scanning competition. Students form teams and compete in 2 rounds of POCUS scenarios. The winning team then goes on to compete in the AAPA’s annual national Yes iScan student competition.

Second year students continue their POCUS education when they return for end-of-rotation sessions. In these sessions, students have an opportunity to learn POCUS pathology by learning the four main POCUS protocols used in clinical practice: FAST, RUSH, BLUE, and CASA. These sessions also focus on image interpretation of ultrasound pathology and refine scanning techniques.

Finally, each year NSU students participate in medical mission trips to Guatemala, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and others where they have the opportunity to use their POCUS skills and bring portable ultrasound to areas without immediate access to medical imaging

As an NSU PA graduate, you will have a strong base in primary care and solid entry level POCUS skills allowing you to provide the most up-to-date standard of care to your patients making you an asset to any practice.

Physician assistant faculty ultrasound coordinators during March 2019 POCUS training with Rachel Krackov, Ph.D., MPAS, PA-C, RVS, director of PA POCUS education (far right).


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