Transvaginal ultrasound simulation and its effect on trainee confidence levels: a replacement for initial clinical training?

C. J. Williams, J. C. Edie, B. Mulloy, D. M. Flinton, G. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction The ScanTrainer transvaginal ultrasound simulator has been developed to facilitate initial training of transvaginal ultrasound skills without patient contact. Due to the intimate nature of the examination and in some cases, limited training opportunities, the need for simulation-based education in ultrasound has gained momentum. Currently, research into the effectiveness of the ScanTrainer is limited. 
Methods A mixed method study was conducted in a single institution between October 2011 and January 2012. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling and allocated to the control (clinical training) or experimental (simulation training) group following a pre-test. After 10 hours of their allocated transvaginal ultrasound training method a post-test assessment was conducted and the results statistically analysed. Participants then experienced the alternative method of training and completed questionnaires. The results were used to inform semi-structured interviews for each group. Interview transcripts were interpreted using theme analysis. 
Results  A small number of doctors completed the study, nine (82%) out of the 11 recruited. The majority of participants (89%) felt that practice on the ScanTrainer can increase confidence prior to attempting a real transvaginal ultrasound scan. Average scores showed that the simulation training group outperformed the clinical training group on overall score and each of the five post-test components. No statistically significant differences were demonstrated for overall score (U = 13, P = 0.556) or the five components (P = 0.190–1). 
Conclusions  Transvaginal ultrasound training on the ScanTrainer has the potential to replace initial clinical training; however, further larger trials are required to evaluate. Clinically significant outcomes exist if the ScanTrainer training is proven to be more effective than initial clinical training. The ScanTrainer prepares a trainee and builds confidence to progress to clinical scanning, which has the potential to improve the patient experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


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