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Ultrasound Student Assessment: What Instructors Thought

Research on How to Best Select Students for Ultrasound Programs (Part 3)

In the previous blog article in this series (part 1part 2) we discussed the general approach taken for analyzing phase I results. In this article, we will explore the actual results and implications for what surveyed instructors believe matters in student selection.  Of course, overall, the objective is to develop a background to understand and interpret phase 2 of this research project.

IN NEXT WEEKS BLOG, I AM POSTING A VIDEO BY STEVEN TALBOT RVT, FSVU, TITLED ‘HIGH TOUCH IN A HIGH TECH WORLD’.  IT IS AN INCREDIBLY PERSONAL STORY EXPLORING PATIENT AND HEALTHCARE PROVIDER RELATIONSHIPS.  STEVE’S POWERFUL INSIGHTS MAY INSPIRE HABITS YOU CAN DEVELOP TO CAPTURE ‘MOMENTS OF TRUTH’ IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE.

General Information:

Remember that the data was acquired through a survey (Click here if you would like to view the actual survey). The first question of the survey was to determine general information regarding the ultrasound programs. For the 75 returned surveys, the results were as follows:

  What Programs   Number  
General ultrasound (DMS) 72
Cardiovascular (CVT) 16
Vascular (VT) 15
Other (Pediatric) 1

 

  Program Duration   Months   STDEV  
All programs combined 19.90 5.9975
General ultrasound (DMS) 20.74 5.9190
Cardiovascular (CVT) 18.94 4.8093
Vascular (VT) 17.94 6.6580

13 Questions answered by survey:

In the last blog I provided a link to allow you to speculate about some of the survey results. The results from the audience and the actual survey are displayed below. The blue handwritten numbers next to the choices (a, b, c, d, or e) represent the number of people who voted for that choice as being the “correct” answer.

Q1: What percentage of the students who apply are accepted?

Click images to see answers:

Q2: What percentage of students accepted graduate?

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Q3: What are the program entrance requirements?

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Q4: What percentage of programs perform interviews?

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Q5: What is the theory behind performing interviews?

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Q6: What percentage of respondents believe they have a very effective selection process?

Click images to see answers:

Q7: Rank why students drop out

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Q8: What personal characteristics in your students do you believe best correlates with academic success?

Click images to see answers:

Q9: What personal characteristics in your students do you believe best correlates with ability to scan?

Click images to see answers:

Q10: What personal characteristics in your students do you believe best correlates with ability to operate effectively within a hospital or lab setting?

Click images to see answers:

Q11: If there were one personal characteristic or attribute you could test for in your students before program admission, what would it be

Click images to see answers:

Q12: Have you ever found students who were academically strong but unable to scan well?

Click images to see answers:

Q13: What percentage of respondents thought that a better method of determining student success would be very useful and/or better than sliced bread?

Click images to see answers:

So What?

So what do these answers tell us? Taken together, the indications are relatively clear. First, almost all respondents acknowledged that a new method for selecting students would be useful, with more than 63% expressing that a new method would be either “very useful” or the “best thing since slide bread.” (Assuming you think slice bread is great!)

Q1:

Since the point of this research is to determine how best to select students, a critical question is how much evaluation exists in student selection based on current application and admission patterns. In other words, if virtually every student who applies is accepted, then a method for “selecting” students is an exercise in futility (similar to the ability to choose the color of mass-produced Ford Model Ts in the early 1900’s when Henry Ford famously stated  “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”).

Given that the answer to question 1 regarding student acceptance rates is about 28%, the first criterion for continuing the research was certainly met.

Q2 and Q7 and Q13:

The survey responses reflect that 1 out of every five students does not graduate, and academics was listed as the number one reason, with ‘field not what was expected’ as a clear second.  Assuming that student assessment has the sincere purpose of selecting successful candidates, there is some indication that previous academic performance should be a key evaluation metric.  Additionally, the value for a system to expose prospective students to the medical work environment in advance seems implied.

Q8, Q9, Q10, Q11, and Q12 [What constitutes ‘success’?]:

These questions divide the general concept of ‘success’ for students into interrelated measures of scanning competency, and the ability to operate well within a hospital or lab environment. Collectively they illustrate what is believed to be desirable for a successful ultrasound student. The attributes suggested throughout all these responses are dedication, motivation and persistence.

However, the interesting aspect of these results is the hint that academic success and career success are propelled by different characteristics.  Many instructors seem to believe that an assessment of communication and/or social skills, coupled with problem-solving and work ethic are strong barometers of a student’s likelihood of career success.

I encourage you to review the survey results to draw your own conclusions, as well.

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One Response to Ultrasound Student Assessment: What Instructors Thought

  1. Sean says:

    I think your point about the number one reason for students not graduating being “field was not as expected” is an interesting one. This makes me wondering some sort of trial system may be a good criteria for student selection. Perhaps set up a semester long program where students experience what the field is like, and factor their success in that program into the criteria. Of course, resources would inevitably be a concern.

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