Society of Point of Care Ultrasound

5 photo(s) Updated on: 26 May 2017
  • Peripheral IV ultrasound performed by PA students of the MEDEX SUIS
  • Peripheral IV ultrasound performed by PA students of the MEDEX SUIS. The SUIS is mentored by Jonathan Monti.
  • MSK ultrasound identifies the ulnar nerve. The performed by PA students of the MEDEX SUIS mentored by Jonathan Monti.
  • The University of Utah Student Ultrasound Interest Section scan under the watchful eye of sections mentor Fritz Fuller, PA-C. Fritz is a Director at Large for SPOCUS, practices Emergency Medicine and

Student Ultrasound Interest Sections (SUIS)

​The SUIS is an extracurricular activity, where students from a single program or students from several programs in a single geographic area formally unite to form a student led, and faculty sanctioned, ultrasound organization.  This organization is intended for PA programs that do not currently have any ultrasound presence, but the students desire the education. 

SPOCUS will assign the SUIS a mentor, and together the group will decide what objectives and applications they wish to learn.  Subjects can include:

  • Basic Physics/Knobology
  • Basic Cardiac
  • Basic Lung
  • Basic Abdomen
  • Line Placement
  • Soft Tissue
  • FAST
  • ​DVT
  • Basic MSK/Joint
  • ​Leadership/US Directorship/Billing/coding
  • Clinical Anatomy
  • Ocular
  • AAA

The students will be given access to a free text book, and the mentor will push didactic information to the students monthly through FOAMed, Free and Open Access Medical Education in the form of 15-25 minute videos.  Once the didactic information is learned, the students will begin scanning normal anatomy.​

The SUIS program is intended to be a sustainable program, where second year students return from rotations to teach first year students the basics of each application.

SPOCUS will help the students obtain scanners.  For those programs that are affiliated with a medical school SPOCUS will facilitate a request to the local Ultrasound Program Director to borrow their machines.  If this is not a practical approach SPOCUS will help the SUIS lease machines at very reasonable pricing.  In fact, if the students in the SUIS would like to have personal scanners we can facilitate this opportunity.  

Every effort is made to obtain the maximum number of scanners for the SUIS, ideally no more than  4 students per machine, however it is possible to develop a SUIS where every student has a personal scanner to practice.

The SPOCUS mentor will arrange for video chats to answer questions, present pathology and to guide technique.  SPOCUS may even be able to arrange for live model/cadaveric scanning sessions with the SUIS a couple times a semester.

Any student program is eligible to become a SUIS, to include PA, medical, NP, nurse anesthetists, however all members of the SUIS must be members of SPOCUS.

Just the fact that you are researching on this page shows that you are a leader among your peers.  This is the first step in how you can be part of something that is bigger than yourself.  Believe it or not, you are in a position to help yourself, help your program and help your profession.

Be a leader- team up with SPOCUS, and let's build something at your institution that is sustainable and will continue to be a building block of education for the future.  Let's build a SUIS-Student Ultrasound Interest Section.  The SUIS will eventually become the model for your program to fully integrate ultrasound into their curriculum. 

Currently, ultrasound is fully integrated into the curriculum of more than 20 medical schools across the US. These schools start by teaching ultrasound applications on day one of class and longitudinally incorporate the learning throughout the 4 years of medical school.

Ultrasound integration is not currently unequivocally defined; however, it implies that traditional classes like anatomy, physiology, pathology, differential diagnosis and the physical exam modules as well as the hospital practicum all have an ultrasound component which compliments the traditional learning.  In some medical schools integration translates to teaching students ultrasound applications and protocols.   Other medical schools use ultrasound as a teaching tool to enhance core competencies every medical student is already learning. 

These core competencies include learning points that ultrasound may reinforce as part of a strategy of spaced repetition of learned material.  For example, the heart may be dissected in the Gross Anatomy lab, it's normal function taught in physiology, the individual components of the auscultation taught in the Physical Examination class, while pathology, murmurs, and the physical exam reinforced with an ultrasound lab session.

SPOCUS is dedicated to helping PA programs integrate ultrasound into their curriculum, with a goal of 10% of programs integrating ultrasound by 2021, 50% integrating by 2026, and all programs integrating by 2031.  However, as of 2017 there is one PA program that has ultrasound integrated longitudinally in the curriculum, and several more that offer short blocks of instruction.  Two additional programs are scheduled to start their integration at the start of this incoming class.  If PA programs are to continue on the path of a medical model of education, then we must attempt to mirror the medical school example and provide our young graduates with the skills necessary to continue to easily collaborate with our physician colleagues.


In  2017 SPOCUS Generalist Clinical Ultrasound Guidelines, which endorse PA program education as a pathway to initial training on the road to clinical ultrasound competency.

            "Full integration of clinical ultrasound training into PA program curricula will provide the richest longitudinal learning experience, therefore training in clinical ultrasound should begin at the earliest point of PA school to allow for the progression of skills throughout didactic and clinical training.

Instruction should begin with basic ultrasound physics and instrumentation, followed by a brief introduction to the clinical applications of bedside ultrasound. Ideally, this clinical training would begin during the anatomy and physiology courses.

Although ultrasound should be considered a separate entity from the clinical exam, it has the potential to complement the exam by offering otherwise unobtainable and clinically relevant anatomic and physiologic real time information to the scanning clinician.  Many UME programs have successfully incorporated clinical ultrasound into the physical exam training.  PA programs should consider adding clinical ultrasound into the physical exam training as these two clinical skills greatly complement each other."

©SPOCUS is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization  •  P.O. Box 90434  •  San Antonio  •  TX • 78209

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