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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):190-198. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2018.038.

Increasing Self-Awareness of Medical Students Through the Use of Ultrasonography.



Self-awareness is vital for the health and development of medical students, but few reported modalities successfully increase medical student self-awareness.


To assess the effect of ultrasonography on medical student self-awareness and health status.


In 2016, first- and second-year osteopathic medical students completed a 9-item survey, created specifically for the current study, which included questions about the use of ultrasonography, health status, and self-awareness after completing at least 1 ultrasonography course. Differences between student responses by class were analyzed using χ2 analysis for items assessing experience with ultrasonography and t tests for items assessing self-awareness.


Of the 329 students surveyed, 192 (58.4%) reported using ultrasonography to explore or monitor their own health or body. Forty-nine students (14.9%) found out something about their health that they did not know before their exposure to ultrasonography. Significant differences were found in the use of ultrasonography between first-year and second-year students; more second-year students reported using ultrasonography outside of laboratory hours (P<.05) and discovering incidental findings (P<.05). The largest portions of students reported average health status for exercise (106 of 325 [32.6%]), stress management (174 of 324 [53.7%]), and sleep (137 of 326 [42.0%]). The largest portions of students reported very good health status for tobacco use (282 of 322 [87.6%]), alcohol use (138 of 323 [42.7%]), and healthy relationships (118 of 326 [36.2%]). Statistically significant differences existed in responses between first- and second-year students regarding exercise (P=.007) and alcohol use (P=.001). The majority of students agreed or strongly agreed (182 of 326 [55.8%]) that access to ultrasonography equipment and ultrasonography training during the first and second years of medical school increased their self-awareness.


The results suggest that the incorporation of ultrasonography into medical education could potentially increase medical student health status and self-awareness.


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