Scientific letters

South African medical interns’ perspectives on the use of point of care ultrasound

Pierre-Andre Mans, Oladele V. Adeniyi
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 4| a5772 | DOI: | © 2023 Pierre-Andre Mans, Oladele V. Adeniyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2023 | Published: 26 December 2023

About the author(s)

Pierre-Andre Mans, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa
Oladele V. Adeniyi, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa


Background: Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) has become such a part of patient care that it is included in undergraduate medical training in many high-income countries. In South Africa, despite the availability of ultrasound units, there is no information on the exposure or training required for medical interns to perform POCUS in their community service year. This study examines interns’ self-reported POCUS training and competency, as well as their perceived readiness for their community service year.

Methods: In this cross-sectional web-based survey, 43 interns were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire after completing their 6-month decentralised family medicine rotation in 2022.

Results: Thirty complete responses (69% response rate) were included for analysis. Eleven graduates from three medical schools reported undergraduate exposure to POCUS. Ten participants completed formal postgraduate ultrasound training. Eight participants felt confident to independently perform POCUS. Thirteen participants felt adequately prepared for their community service year, 10 of whom had received POCUS training. Nearly all the participants (29 of 30) felt that ultrasound training should be incorporated into both undergraduate and internship training.

Conclusion: Medical interns expressed a need for more POCUS training. Most of the studied sample did not feel adequately prepared to perform POCUS independently. The high uptake of additional ultrasound courses highlights the need to include POCUS training. More research is needed to determine the extent and level at which POCUS training should be offered to medical interns in the South African setting.

Contribution: This study looks at the perceived need of South African medical interns for formal POCUS training. It highlights a potential gap in training based on the expected clinical requirements of the community service year.


medical interns; internship training; point of care ultrasound; undergraduate ultrasound training; postgraduate ultrasound training

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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