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Ultrasound training: introduction

All clinicians working and training in O&G need some basic ultrasound skills. You’ll need to use ultrasound in your daily practice, for example when assessing fetal presentation in preterm labour, or for placental localisation in a woman with an antepartum haemorrhage.

Ultrasound is a practical skill that needs to be learned as part of your specialist training in O&G. Ultrasound training is divided into basic and intermediate modules.

Basic ultrasound modules

There are two basic ultrasound modules:

Each module includes both theoretical and practical components. For more information, read the curriculum for each module by clicking on the links above.

The basic modules are a springboard for further supervised training and the acquisition of more advanced ultrasound competences. Completing the basic modules doesn’t mean you’re ready for independent practice, but by this stage you’ll know how to get the best out of the equipment and understand your own abilities.

RCOG requirements

  • If you entered ST1 in August 2013 or later, you’ll need to satisfactorily complete the basic ultrasound modules by the end of ST3
  • If you entered ST1 before August 2013, you’ll need to satisfactorily complete the basic ultrasound modules by the end of ST5

Theoretical component

Ideally, you should complete the theoretical component before the practical part. You can do this by attending courses and using various online resources. Some deaneries also run regional ultrasound training days.

Practical experience

There’s no standard model for the provision of practical ultrasound training, so you’ll need to be proactive and conscientious in order to gain the training you need. For more information about how practical training is delivered, please read the information about delivery of ultrasound training.

Practical ultrasound training is often delivered altruistically by other departments, and you should approach this training professionally and in particular acknowledge the skills that sonographers possess.

You should approach your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor when you first arrive in your unit to inform them of your ultrasound training requirements. If you’re having difficulty accessing your training, you should discuss this with your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor. If you continue to have problems, you should approach your Deanery Ultrasound Coordinator.

The majority of training is delivered in dedicated ultrasound sessions. However, you should also make the most of the opportunities available and learn from colleagues who can scan competently while on call or in clinics:

For the basic early pregnancy ultrasound module, you could gain ultrasound training while working in the gynaecology outpatient department or early pregnancy unit

For the basic ultrasound assessment of fetal size, liquor and the placenta module, you could gain ultrasound training on the labour ward, maternity day assessment unit or antenatal clinic

Completing the modules

Once you’ve completed the practical training, your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor will need to sign this off in your Portfolio using the basic ultrasound module completion form (PDF, 20 kb).

Intermediate ultrasound modules

There are three intermediate ultrasound modules:

Each module includes both theoretical and practical components. For more information, read the curriculum for each module by clicking on the links above.

The intermediate modules are free-standing but do align with certain ATSMs and subspecialty training programmes. Trainees should expect to take one year of one to two sessions per week to achieve competency. For more details, please read the information on ultrasound training in advanced and subspecialty training.

Accessing intermediate ultrasound training

There is less demand for intermediate than basic ultrasound training, so intermediate training isn’t delivered in all units.

Each Deanery has its own selection process for intermediate training. As soon as you decide that you wish to undertake intermediate ultrasound training, ask your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor or Deanery Ultrasound Coordinator how to get on to the training programme. You may need to apply up to 1 year in advance of when you want to start the module, as your application will need to be considered at the time of placement allocation.

Completing the modules

Once you’ve completed the practical training, your local Ultrasound Educational Supervisor will need to sign this off in your Portfolio using the intermediate ultrasound module completion form (PDF, 18 kb).

Find out more

If you need any help or advice, please read the ultrasound training FAQs, email the Trainees' Coordinator or call +44 20 7772 62348.

Elsewhere on the site

Assessment of training
Information about sign-off of competencies, workplace-based assessments, ARCPs and more
Ultrasound training resources
Useful resources to help support your ultrasound training