The consistency of clinical training of sonographers relies on the sector’s ability to provide quality clinical supervision.
The traditional pathway into sonography, which applies to more than 80% of students, requires up to 2,200 hours of clinical training to be undertaken in the clinical settings of sonography departments at hospitals and in private medical imaging clinics. Currently there are around 600 student sonographers undertaking clinical training across Australia. Once achieving accredited sonographer status, ongoing clinical training is required to support the new entrant’s development to a skilled health professional.
Education programs for each sonography course are assessed and approved by the ASAR. The ASAR requirements for clinical training specify programs need to demonstrate a quality assurance process in regard to validating the assessment of clinical competence and ASAR recommends that students be engaged in sonography practice for a minimum of three days/week over a two year period, full-time equivalent, in an Australian or New Zealand clinical setting.
With funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, the ASA analysed the current literature available across a wide range of health professions, together with extensive consultation with the sonographer community, to determine best practice approaches in clinical supervision that can be consistently applied across the profession. This funding also enabled the ASA to run two streams of workshops: one on delivering training to sonographer clinical educators in Victoria; the second targeting trainee sonographers, providing education to complement their clinical training experience and build a trainee sonographer community of practice.
Both workshop streams were highly successful. The supervisor workshops were rated highly by participants for meeting their needs and interests as educators. The trainee workshop participants emphasised the value they gained from the live scanning (demonstrative and participatory) and the opportunity to learn and share experiences with their peers (in contrast to distance learning). The workshops also highlighted the significant need for standardised resources. The success and the high level of interest and engagment from trainee and supervising sonographers has created a solid foundation on which to extend work in this area.
ASA Clinical Training Project: Final Report
Department of Health and Human Services, July 2015
This resource has been developed by the ASA with the support of the Victorian Government to improve the quality and consistency of clinical training of sonographers. It includes information and resources that will equip supervisors with practical strategies to facilitate adult learning and the acquisition of skills and knowledge.
The ASA recommends all sonographers adopt these guidelines to ensure that sonographers are consistently delivering the best clinical practice and patient care possible. The guidelines should be used in conjunction with existing site-specific supervision requirements and policies.
These new guidelines complement the ASA’s suite of evidence-based guidelines and protocols to assist sonographers in their practise.