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Ultrasound Clinical Teaching Capacity in England: A Scoping Exercise

Harrison, G. ORCID: 0000-0003-2795-8190 & Beardmore, C. (2019). Ultrasound Clinical Teaching Capacity in England: A Scoping Exercise. Radiography, doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2019.09.005


The United Kingdom has a sonographer shortage. Health Education England are working with stakeholders to address these shortages and increase clinical capacity for sonographer education. The aims of this survey were to ascertain current sonographer staffing levels, estimate staffing requirements in five years’ time and review current clinical placement capacity.

An on-line survey was used to explore the aims of the study. Questions included current and predicted sonographer staffing requirements and clinical capacity for teaching ultrasound. Free text comments were available for expanding on responses.

Of 72 completed responses the mean sonographer vacancy rate was 2.65 and the predicted number of sonographers needed to provide the service in five years was 4.6. Departments were teaching an average of two sonographers and 2 non-sonographers. A small number of departments had further capacity for sonography student training which was not being utilised for reasons including limited capacity, inadequate staffing levels or competing demands of teaching other health care professionals. Extended working days and weekend training lists were used to increase capacity, along with rolling programmes for teaching sonographers and the use of simulation.

The survey supported previous publications that have shown sonographer shortages in England and this is predicted to increase over the next five years. Departments were teaching a similar number of sonographers as other health care professionals. Many experienced competing demands, which challenged their ability to increase clinical capacity. Implications for practice Suggestions for increasing capacity are provided to help grow the sonography workforce. With the advent of new sonography programmes at direct entry, the departments with spare capacity could be utilised to support clinical placements for sonography students in need of a placement on a direct entry programme.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Elsevier 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Sonographer, Clinical capacity, Education, Workforce, Sonography
Subjects: L Education
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
[thumbnail of Ultrasound Clinical Teaching Capacity in England Sep19.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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