Point-of-care ultrasound educational interventions in the neonatal intensive care unit: A systematic review

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The benefits of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have been widely recognized, but education on this area of practice remains variable. We reviewed published educational interventions regarding POCUS use in the NICU and whether they have led to sustainable increases in POCUS use. METHODS:A systematic search of 6 databases was performed for publications from January 2000 to March 2021. Studies with quantitative data related to POCUS educational interventions in the NICU were included. Data on number of participants and roles, educational intervention, curriculum description, and project outcome measures (including sustainability) was extracted. RESULTS: The search resulted in 686 articles, of which nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Educational interventions included didactic sessions, simulation practice, animal practice, and practice in real patients. The most common assessment was based on the quality and accuracy of the images. At the participant level, the average time to reach proficiency ranged from eight hours and thirty-six minutes to five months, and none of the studies evaluated sustainability of POCUS use after the intervention. CONCLUSION: There is a lack of standardized training modules and assessments for POCUS use in the NICU. Given that none of the studies addressed sustainability or standardized training, we recommend that a standardized training protocol and assessment tool is developed and studied longitudinally; and that barriers to sustainable POCUS use in the NICU (such as billing issues and a lack of POCUS machines and instructors) be systematically addressed as part of this work.

*Corresponding Author: 

Yingying Zheng, MB, East Carolina University and Vidant Medical Center, 2100 Stantonsburg Rd, Greenville, NC, 27834, USA. Tel.: +1 252 4129222; E-mail: ZHENGY19@ecu.edu.