Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of practical ultrasound workshops for the acquisition and consolidation of conceptual learning about the basic physics and semiology of ultrasonography aimed at third-year medical school students doing the physical examination module of their studies.
Material and methods: We carried out practical ultrasound workshops with two groups of 177 and 175 students in two consecutive academic years. All students had taken a class in basic radiology in the previous year. Students examined each other with ultrasonography under instructors' supervision in a two-hour session. Before and after the workshop, students did a seven-question multiple-choice test about basic semiology and answered two questions evaluating their degree of confidence in interpreting ultrasonographic images and handling the ultrasound scanner on a scale from 1 to 10.
Results: No significant differences were found between the scores obtained in the two groups. Overall, the mean score on the multiple-choice test improved from 59.71% on the initial assessment to 88.29% on the post-workshop assessment (p <0.01). Confidence in interpreting images improved from 3.39/10 to 6.28/10 (p <0.01), and confidence in handling the equipment improved from 3.73/10 to 6.51/10 (p <0.01).
Conclusion: Practical workshops were useful for learning basic concepts about ultrasound imaging, allowing students to significantly improve their scores on the multiple-choice test. Students had a low level of confidence in their ability to interpret ultrasound images and handle the equipment before starting the workshop, but their confidence improved significantly after completing the workshop.