Connecting rural physicians with ultrasound

Born and raised in Trail, British Columbia, Blair Stanley knew he wanted to go back to his hometown after finishing medical school.

Despite knowing the challenges that can often face rural physicians, Dr. Stanley wanted to be home, helping the people in Trail and the rural communities surrounding it.

“I’m now a family physician in Trail and do emergency medicine in Castlegar,” he said. “But unlike big emergency units in the city, we don’t have people on call who can provide ultrasound, X-Ray or CT scans.”

When Dr. Stanley heard about the Hands-on Ultrasound Education (HOUSE) program being offered to rural physicians and medical residents by the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Rural Continuing Professional Development (RCPD) team, he immediately registered.

“It has been absolutely invaluable,” he said. “It’s given me the confidence and skills to use point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) if I need it during a clinical exam.”

Bone fractures, shortness of breath, a collapsed lung, blood clots, ruptured spleens, heart failure, kidney disease and obstetrics can all be further investigated using ultrasound at the bedside and HOUSE offers training in all of them.

“It helps me diagnose things in the emergency department more quickly,” said Dr. Stanley. “Which basically translates to getting patients the care they need faster.”

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