Psychomotor skills in medical ultrasound imaging: An analysis of the core skill set

Delwyn Nicholls, Linda Sweet, Jon Hyett

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    Sonographers use psychomotor skills to perform medical ultrasound examinations. Psychomotor skills describe voluntary movements of the limb, joints, and muscles in response to sensory stimuli and are regulated by the motor neural cortex in the brain. We define a psychomotor skill in relation to medical ultrasound imaging as "the unique mental and motor activities required to execute a manual task safely and efficiently for each clinical situation." Skills in clinical ultrasound practice may be open or closed; most skills used in medical ultrasound imaging are open. Open skills are both complex and multidimensional. Visuomotor and visuospatial psychomotor skills are central components of medical ultrasound imaging. Both types of skills rely on learners having a visual exemplar or standard of performance with which to reference their skill performance and evaluate anatomic structures. These are imperative instructional design principles when teaching psychomotor skills.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1349-1352
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


    • Procedural skills
    • Psychomotor skills
    • Skills
    • Sonography
    • Ultrasound
    • Ultrasound education


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