Emergency Ultrasound Student Clerkship 2015-12-22T11:01:13+00:00

Emergency Ultrasound Student Clerkship

The Emergency Ultrasound Elective at LAC+USC Medical Center can be two or four weeks long, depending on students’ schedule and availability. In a two-week rotation, trainees will complete ten six-hour scanning shifts; in a four-week rotation, trainees will complete twenty six-hour scanning shifts. During scanning shifts, trainees will scan with residents and faculty, as well as independently, once appropriately trained.

The Emergency Ultrasound Division has four full-time faculty members, each of whom has scanning time dedicated to teaching fellows, residents and medical students point-of-care ultrasound. Additionally, we have emergency ultrasound fellows and an ultrasound educator who teach and provide Quality Assurance for scans performed in the department. Our Emergency Department has over eighteen ultrasound machines and offers a rich clinical environment for learning point-of-care ultrasound.

In addition to the scanning shifts, every Wednesday morning students attend ultrasound education day from 9 a.m. to noon. Students will participate in our weekly journal club as well as present an interesting ultrasound case during the second week of the rotation. There is also protected time to attend the Department of Emergency Medicine’s weekly grand rounds on Thursday mornings.

Goals and Objectives

  • Develop competence in basic image acquisition. Students will be able to operate an ultrasound machine in its basic form, understanding how to select the proper probe for the given study, how to adjust gain and depth to optimize the image and how to save appropriate images.
  • Recognize the indications for bedside ultrasound.
  • Perform at least 50 independent ultrasound exams over the course of the two-week rotation.
  • Demonstrate how to appropriately drape patients, and be respectful of patient comfort and privacy while performing exams.
  • Learn to identify the key anatomic landmarks for the following studies: FAST, AAA, cardiac, biliary, renal, thoracic, and soft tissue/abscess.
  • Learn to identify the key ultrasonographic findings used to diagnose the following pathologic conditions: cholecystitis, pneumothorax, hydronephrosis, ascites, AAA and abscess.
  • Learn to identify free fluid (ascites or blood) on an abdominal ultrasound.
  • Learn to identify fluid (pleural effusion or hemothorax) on a thoracic ultrasound.
  • Learn the types of ultrasound artifacts and their role in image acquisition.
  • Present one interesting ultrasound case and two journal club articles over the course of the rotation.

We take two students per two-week block. During our May through November period, we give priority to students applying to Emergency Medicine. Slots fill fast, so please apply early. Contact Hiralda Godoy, our clerkship coordinator, for scheduling availability.


All students who wish to rotate must do the following:

  • Apply to the Keck School of Medicine of USC Student Affairs using the AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).
  • Students who wish to rotate between May and November must also email our clerkship coordinator, Hiralda Godoy (hgodoy@usc.edu) the following information to be considered for a rotation spot:
    • Top three preferred start dates (in order of preference).
    • The name and email address of your EM faculty advisor or other faculty advisor who can attest to your desire to pursue Emergency Medicine.
    • The specialty/specialties you will be applying to.

For students applying to Emergency Medicine residency, we will consider writing letters of recommendation for students who complete a 4-week rotation.


Mikaela Chilstrom, MD, RDMS
Emergency Ultrasound Medical Student Elective Director
Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
Keck School of Medicine of USC
LAC+USC Medical Center

Hiralda Godoy
Clerkship Coordinator
LAC+USC Medical Center
Department of Emergency Medicine
1200 N. State Street, Room 1011
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 226-7763