Trans-vaginal ultrasound simulation: An exploratory qualitative research study focused on the end-users perception of learning

Simulation is beneficial and effective in the intimate educational setting of transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS). Further, dyad learning (learning in pairs) has shown to be non-inferior to independent learning simulation in this setting. A recent study explored trainees' perceptions of learning in TVUS using qualitative research methods; and also studied trainees' perceptions of the training method (learning in pairs (dyads) or as individuals).

The researchers offered a three-hour training session using the transvaginal simulator and teaching programme to participants who either trained individually or as a dyad. Via a semi-structured interview technique, the participants underwent an interview. This interview witnessed recording, transcription, and entry into a qualitative research database (NVivo) to allow coding, structured data analysis, and themes development using Thematic Analysis.

The results were as follows-

  • 15 doctors with no previous experience in TVUS were assigned simulation training either as individuals (n = 7) or dyads (n = 4 pairs). 
  • All participants declared the advantageous nature of simulation training and felt they had sufficient time to meet their learning needs. 
  • They reported some frustration with feedback and the repetitive nature of the simulation. 
  • For dyad learning, participants perceived the value of using a second person to act as a "soundboard", solve problems, and encourage each other. 
  • Independent learners reported frustration and difficulty understanding if and how something went wrong. 
  • Individual learners, however, had the advantage of being able to progress at their own pace.

Previous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of simulation for training in transvaginal ultrasound. This qualitative research confirms previous quantitative research findings by showing that participants appreciated the value of simulations and provided feedback for improving the educational content. It would be beneficial for clinicians and educators to consider dyad training for transvaginal simulation training, with individual training reserved for those who need more time.

Windrim C, Higgins MF. Trans-vaginal ultrasound simulation: An exploratory qualitative research study focused on the end-users perception of learning. The European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2022;270:201-205. DOI:

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