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Acquiring credentials in bedside ultrasound: a cross-sectional survey

31 Aug 2013


Although there are training guidelines to credential emergency physicians in bedside ultrasound, many faculty groups have members who completed residency without a mandatory curriculum. These physicians are therefore required to learn bedside ultrasound while out in practice. The objective of this descriptive report is to illustrate a single academic facility's experience with acquiring credentials for emergency physicians in bedside ultrasound and the faculty's impressions on the motivators of and barriers to completion of the requirements.


Cross-sectional survey.


Two urban teaching hospitals with a combined volume of 170 000 visits a year.


41 emergency medicine attending physicians.


Emergency medicine attending physicians underwent training and credentialing in the applications of aorta and pelvic ultrasound over a 9-month period.

Outcome measure

After the credentialing period, we conducted a survey to evaluate the physicians’ perceptions of this process.


There were 41 faculty members during the credentialing survey period. 11 of the faculty members were exempt from ultrasound training. We asked attending physicians (N=41 exempt and non-exempt) to complete a web-based survey after the completion of the credentialing period. Questions about the potential barriers and incentives were listed and responders were asked to rank answers on a five-point Likert scale. Of the 31 respondents, 21 (67.7%) completed the credentialing requirements by the 9-month deadline. 19 of 26 emergency medicine residency trained physicians completed the requirements compared with 2/5 of those that were not emergency medicine residency trained. Our pilot study data suggest an association between fewer years in practice and completion of the requirements.


This is a report on a single academic institution's experience with a faculty credentialing programme in bedside ultrasound for physicians with a diversity of prior experience in bedside ultrasonography. We describe the success of the credentialing process and identify survey-based faculty characteristics associated with fulfilling the requirements.

31 August 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open