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Handbook> Electives > Emergency Medicine > Emergency Ultrasound

Electives - Emergency Medicine

Emergency Ultrasound

(Does not count towards 12-week limit of clinical EM)

Elective Number: 1310

Rotation Supervisor: Dr. Chris Thom (

Duration: 2 weeks

Available: 2a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 8a, 9b, 11a & 12a

Report to: Dr. Thom

Time to Report: 8:00 am

Place to Report: TBA

Typical day: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Attendance: Attendance at elective activities is mandatory.

  • Anyone who is ill or has a personal or family emergency must contact Student Affairs and the Attending on Service.
  • Students are allowed to take off up to 1 day per week to interview between November 1 and February 1.
    • Specific days missed must be approved by the Attending on Service.

Suggested preparatory reading: Emergency Ultrasound, Ma O, Mateer J, Blaivas M, eds. McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed., 2008

Number of students per rotation: 3

Course Description: This course is designed for students with an interest in emergency medicine, however, the skills acquired in bedside ultrasonography will be applicable to other specialties including family practice, OB/GYN, critical care medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, orthopaedics and pediatrics. Students will spend the majority of their time performing ultrasound exams on patients in the Emergency Department. Most scans will be proctored by the course director or a teaching sonographer; some will be performed independently with subsequent review by the course director. Students will participate in ultrsound journal club by reviewing and critiquing recent literature relevant to emergency ultrasound. They will attend didactic sessions focusing on emergency ultrasound, as well as lectures relevant to emergency medicine in general. Students will also complete a web-based module on emergency ultrasound.

Goals: Students will master the fundamentals of bedside ultrasound as it is used in the management of emergent medical and traumatic conditions. Students will become facile with basic ultrasound scanning techniques.


Knowledge: Students will comprehend the basics of ultrasound physics and instrumentation. They will understand the uses and limitations of ultrasound in managing patients with trauma, ureterolithiasis, pericardial disease, aortic aneurysms and dissections, biliary disease, early pregnancy, and deep vein thrombosis. Students will also learn to identify artifacts, and understand how they may help or hinder in obtaining a proper image.

Skills: Students will demonstrate proficiency in image acquisition, including probe selection, screen orientation, depth and gain optimization, patient positioning and probe handling.

Attitudes: Students will communicate with patients undergoing ultrasound scanning in a compassionate, professional manner. They will demonstrate proficiency in explaining sonographic findings to patients in terms that are understandable to them.