Sonography education in the clinical setting: The educator and trainee perspective

Kylie Burnley, Koshila Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sonography is a complex clinical skill. However, in spite of its complexity, little has been published about how these skills are taught in Australia or internationally. This paper explores Australian sonographer educators' and trainees' perceptions regarding the teaching of sonography skills, with a specific focus on the procedural dimension of the process. A secondary aim is the identification of the Australian sonographer educator workforce and teaching settings.

Data were collected from trainee and educator sonographers via an online survey and semi‐structured interviews, following ethics approval and informed consent. All data was anonymous or de‐identified. Descriptive statistics were generated for quantitative data and qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.

The online survey of 72 full responses found that a majority of Australian sonography education occurs in general sonography private practice (52%), with most practices employing up to three trainee sonographers concurrently (78%). Forty‐nine per cent of sonographers self‐identified as primary clinical supervisors, with the majority (58%) of these holding no teaching qualifications. Fifty per cent of participants reported using a five‐step method of teaching the procedural dimension of the process. Qualitative findings revealed four themes related to sonography skills teaching including importance of repeated observation and practice, identification of the teaching model, providing opportunity for feedback and having flexibility to adapt the skill teaching model when applicable.

This exploratory mixed‐methods study highlights the educator and trainee perspectives of sonography skills teaching. Based on these findings, the authors propose that sonography skills teaching maximise the opportunities for trainees to engage in observation, hands‐on learning and obtain constructive feedback. It is also suggested that sonography practices support educators to extend their education skills to ensure high‐quality clinical teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019


  • clinical education
  • clinical skills teaching
  • sonography education


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