- Course: Musculoskeletal Medicine PGCert
- Year of graduation: 2022
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Musculoskeletal Sonographer
- Company: Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Why did you choose to study your course?
As a musculoskeletal sonographer with a background in diagnostic radiography, it was evident that there was an inherent cleft in knowledge with regards to clinical presentation, principles of examination, assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal pathologies compared to other allied health professions using diagnostic ultrasound.
I enrolled on the PGCert in musculoskeletal medicine to bridge this gap in clinical knowledge and provide a platform to develop the skills needed to correlate ultrasound appearances with clinical findings. This should allow me to better establish the pertinent ultrasound findings and better inform the patients about the findings.
What do you enjoy about your course?
There is a generous amount of priceless content provided on the course. Delivered by a diverse multidisciplinary team including Orthopaedic surgeons, Radiologists, Rheumatologists, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultants, specialist Physiotherapists and Podiatrists providing a comprehensive insight into the domain of musculoskeletal medicine.
The content is delivered methodically, re-engaging with the content repeatedly throughout the course to reinforce the key themes whilst building on the wider topics.
Regular mentor-led tutorials offer a wealth of experience from highly regarded sports and exercise medicine consultants and encourage you to develop clinical reasoning and critical thinking.
What were the highlights of the course?
The highlight of the course has been the opportunity to engage with expert sports and exercise medicine clinicians and appreciate their first-hand experiences around the efficacy and reliability of assessment and management approaches.
As a diagnostician, it has been invaluable to learn and understand the importance of my findings in terms of the likely prognosis and suggested timelines for effective management. This should allow me to be better informed as to when to expedite findings and recommend onward referrals.
What have been the greatest challenges throughout your course?
The greatest challenge for me was approaching the course as a non-medical practitioner. I had little prior knowledge of clinical assessment, effective history taking and the relevance of past medical history, risk factors, and conservative and surgical management. This required a greater demand for further self-directed study than the clinicians in my cohort, not to mention saturating the lecturers with questions!
How would you rate the support from the course team?
Second to none. All of the course team were amenable to questions and were happy to support me whenever I needed them. They were all very respectful of my background and showed interest in my specialism which made me feel included.
How did you find studying online and what do you think about the course materials, including lectures, online tutorials, forum discussions etc?
This was the first time I had done distance learning, let alone online-based content, however, I found this to be a very effective way of learning. I found that this allowed me to better manage the pace of learning the content to suit me and gave me the opportunity to revisit content multiple times to clarify any deficits around a topic.
The online tutorials were comprehensive and well delivered. Again, the ability to pause the content or rewind was invaluable when taking notes.
Again, the tutorials provided a great forum for us all to interact, providing an opportunity to ask questions and offered a platform for students to learn from one another too.
The course also provided accompanying workbooks for each joint and its associated anatomy which was a very effective way of helping to structure our self-directed study and to use it as a benchmark to test our knowledge against.
Why did you choose the University of Leeds?
The University of Leeds has an outstanding reputation for medicine and biomedical sciences. Typically, Leeds would be too far a commute for me as a postgraduate student however when I found that I could study remotely at this well-respected institution, I jumped at the chance.
How do you plan to use the knowledge and skills gained?
I started using the knowledge from the very early stages of commencing the course. I have been practising musculoskeletal ultrasound for many years but the supplementing knowledge has allowed me to have much more confidence in my ultrasound diagnosis. Also, as I am often one of the first health professionals that the patient will encounter, this will allow me to better inform the patient and answer many of the questions they have before and after the examination, hopefully enriching their experience and providing reassurance where possible.
Furthermore, my relationship with other musculoskeletal health professionals and referrers will likely be enhanced due to a better understanding of their roles and the information they will deem relevant from my ultrasound examinations.