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First Ever Ultrasound Machine Lending Library for Medical Students in Canada Opens at Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick

Posted by Allie Fournier on May 3, 2021 in News
The Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club (back row, left to right): Dr. David Lewis, Christine Crain, Johnathan Rose, Pat Price, Eric Plant, Alex Wong, Ilya Abelev; (front, centre): Luke Macleod.

The Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS (Point-of-Care Ultrasound) Club is the first ever ultrasound machine lending library for medical students in Canada. Under the guidance of Dr. David Lewis, Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University, a group of dedicated Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) students spearheaded this project in response to the limited in-person practice time with ultrasound machines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before this initiative, students had limited time during fixed teaching sessions to practice with machines; however, this innovative ultrasound machine lending library will facilitate more practice time for medical students and offer self-directed learning material to enable skill acquisition outside the traditional classroom format.

Luke MacLeod (DMNB Class of 2022), the ultrasound model for the project, is full of praise for his Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club co-members, calling them “highly motivated, creative, intelligent, and friendly.” He also sees their efforts “enhanc[ing] self-directed study and practice of PoCUS for future students.”

“Having this new resource available for students who want to practice ultrasound is very exciting,” says project lead Pat Price (DMNB Class of 2022). “With the increasing use of Point-of-Care Ultrasound, this is an important skill for students to develop.”

The library is open

With plenty of patience, hard work, and generous funding provided by the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation (SJRHF), the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club was able to purchase six Butterfly iQ probes, small portable ultrasound machines, which students can sign out from the PoCUS Club Library to take home and practice views taught in curriculum.

“While the new machines are a vital component of this project, the associated video learning material will be fundamental to its success,” notes clinical lead Dr. Lewis. “Under the project leadership of Pat Price and technological leadership of Ilya Abelev, this team of medical students has spent the last eight months creating a highly polished library of content that will support our self-directed learning objectives. I’m so impressed with what they have achieved.”

Learners who sign out one of the Butterfly iQ probes will have access to this library of self-directed learning videos, which are focused on the undergraduate medical PoCUS core curriculum. In addition to two introductory videos (one short and one longer), there are ten videos that walk viewers through a variety of scans.

These videos, created by the DMNB students who make up the PoCUS Club, were designed to be viewed on a smartphone and to support supervised and unsupervised educational practice in the classroom, clinical setting, or offsite with loaned machines.

Ilya Abelev (DMNB Class of 2022), club executive and technology lead, was responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of the multimedia work. He taught the other group members how to use the video editing software and was the biggest contributor to the creation and editing of the videos. “Moving forward, I would love to see incoming medical school class taking over video creation and continue to add material at both the medical school and residency levels to eventually make a comprehensive ultrasound program,” he says.

Forward thinking

Not only is the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club’s library of content helpful to medical students in New Brunswick, but also to anyone in the world interested in learning Point-of-Care Ultrasound.

“Our poster, Novice Guide to Point of Care Ultrasound [PDF, 15.8 MB], is as relevant in the Saint John Regional Hospital Emergency Room as it is in a Medical Teaching Unit in Mozambique or an Emergency Department in Seattle,” says Price of the project’s accessibility and ease of use. “This is a project that helps learners quickly review the material before they work with patients.”

“This just came together so much better than imagined,” adds Christine Crain (DMNB Class of 2022), who assisted with graphic design. “I also see a lot of potential for the future!”

The Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club hopes that students use this resource to help them learn Point-of-Care Ultrasound. They also hope to be able to expand the number of machines available for future lending and have much more work planned for the club.

“We are excited to see how our learning material can be used by medical students across Canada and even further afield,” says Dr. Lewis.

For quick access to the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick PoCUS Club video library, open the camera on your phone and scan the QR codes below.


Made possibe in part by the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation
Project Lead Pat Price Clinical Lead
Dr. David Lewis
Executive and Technology Lead Ilya Abelev Graphic Design Christine Crain
Anatomical Model Luke MacLeod   Alex Wong
Video Creation Ilya Abelev   Eric Plant
  Eric Plant Technology Consultants Alex Wong
  Alex Wong   Eric Plant
  Pat Price Narration Dr. David Lewis
  Johnathan Rose Music Alex Wong
QBit 7 ultrasound