Barriers and facilitators to achieving competence in lung ultrasound: A survey of physiotherapists following a lung ultrasound training course


      Background and purpose

      Lung ultrasound (LUS) is an emerging tool for acute respiratory physiotherapists. In Australia, there are a select few LUS training courses run for physiotherapists. Research to date has evaluated LUS training courses for physiotherapists in terms of knowledge and skill acquisition. The impact of LUS training on user competence and confidence and whether LUS is used in clinical practice has yet to be evaluated. This study therefore explored the impact of attending a physiotherapy LUS training course on acquisition of competence and confidence and the barriers and facilitators for physiotherapists in achieving competence in LUS.


      A quantitative survey containing 21 questions was distributed to 77 Australian physiotherapists.


      Of the invited physiotherapists, 39 (50%) completed the survey. Most participants were working in intensive care, in the public hospital setting. Binary logistic regression was performed and demonstrated no significant difference in the relationship between years of clinical experience and having confidence in performing or interpreting LUS images. There was also no statistical significance in the relationship between years of clinical experience and gaining competence and accreditation in LUS. Of the 39 responders, 20 physiotherapists had performed at least one LUS scan since completing training; however, most identified they never use LUS to inform clinical decision-making. Only one physiotherapist had gained accreditation through an ultrasound-governing body. The most frequently reported barriers to achieving competence were lack of clinical time to devote to training and lack of an LUS supervisor.


      A majority of physiotherapists who participated in an LUS training course did not attain competence or accreditation, nor were they confident in performing LUS and interpreting images. Barriers exist that prevent intensive care physiotherapists from being able to use LUS in clinical practice. LUS is also not frequently used by acute respiratory physiotherapists to make clinical decisions.


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