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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Ke Zhang


Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) use has greatly expanded over the past 10 years. POCUS refers to the use of portable ultrasound at the bedside for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. POCUS offers an advantage to both healthcare providers and patients because it gives accurate and rapid information that can lead to diagnosis or to narrow the differential diagnosis without radiation exposure to the patient. POCUS is used in many disciplines of medicine, including emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, intensive care, and radiology. There are no standards for performing POCUS for PAs in their training. Because PAs are expected to be practice-ready when they finish their training, it is expected that they would be able to perform POCUS should they enter a discipline that utilizes POCUS. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine how POCUS is being taught in PA programs. A mixed methods, multistrand, sequential design was utilized. PA program directors and current PA students in the United States were surveyed about whether and how they were taught POCUS use in their PA programs. Exploratory data analysis was performed to present the descriptive findings of the dataset. A nonparametric independent samples Kruskal-Wallis test was performed to assess the research questions. PA program directors were then interviewed. The recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded using In Vivo which identified themes. The data was then triangulated providing an important procedure for understanding the overall data. The conclusions and implication for practice are that POCUS introduction timing varies, methods used in all programs involve hands-on, small group instruction, practicing PAs learn POCUS on the job or during prejob preparations, and POCUS training enhances student confidence and qualifications in using POCUS upon graduation.

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