As early as July of 2016, Survival Flight, the University of Michigan’s medical transport programs flight nursing staff, embarked on a journey to acquire the basic skills necessary to provide point of service ultrasound for patients during transport. This initiative was directed by Dr. Ross Kessler who is the Co-Director of Clinical Ultrasound and the Associate Director of the Clinical Ultrasound Fellowship in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan. Through didactic and hands on training, the flight nurses were provided access to an array web-based training, human patient simulator training and direct patient contact utilizing our own Sonosite iViz portable ultrasound machines. Associate Medical Director Dr. Ben Bassin was instrumental in initial acquisition of devices and implementation of their use.
Every nurse was required to perform a minimum of 10 exams (FAST, Cardiac, IVC, Lung) and then meet with Dr. Kessler or one of the Ultrasound fellows and perform those same exams and “test-out” before being considered competent to implement ultrasound during transport.
The flight nurses were able to acquire patient exams in the Adult Emergency Department, the Emergency Critical Care area and in a number of the intensive care units including pediatric ICU’s. All the training was accomplished under the instruction of a staff emergency physician, a senior emergency medicine resident or an ultrasound fellow.
To date, nearly every nurse has been signed off and approved to carry and use the portable ultrasound on transport. From early detection to confirmation of suspicions for abnormalities or disease states, the ultrasound has provided our team with a new tool in the care of our patients.