Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) provider point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) procedural competency for umbilical line placement confirmation has not been defined, and the necessary training to achieve competency has not been previously studied. This study's objective was to test the hypothesis that a simulation-enhanced curriculum will improve NICU providers' POCUS competency to confirm umbilical line placement.
Neonatal intensive care unit providers without prior ultrasound experience were randomized to a curriculum with or without simulation-based training. Competency for catheter detection, tip localization, and scan interpretation on patients was determined using learning curve-cumulative summation, a specific statistical tool designed to indicate when a predefined level of performance is reached. Differences in success rates were analyzed by χ2 test.
Two thirds (22/33) of participants completed 10 scans. Three (simulation) and 1 (control) attained catheter detection competency (P = 0.28). The simulation group was more successful for catheter detection (81% vs. 69%, P = 0.04) and scan interpretation (61% vs. 48%, P = 0.04). Success did not differ by umbilical vessel location, provider role, or duration of NICU experience.
A simulation-enhanced POCUS curriculum improved catheter detection rate and scan interpretation, but there was no difference in procedural competency between groups on ultrasound scans performed on patients with umbilical catheters. We speculate that more than 10 scans may be needed for NICU providers to obtain POCUS competency.