Hands-On Ultrasound Education

Our Emergency Department has over eighteen ultrasound machines and offers a rich clinical environment for learning point-of-care ultrasound. The Emergency Ultrasound Division has four full-time faculty members, each of whom have dedicate scanning time for teaching fellows, residents and medical students in point-of-care ultrasound. Additionally, we have both Emergency Medicine Ultrasound fellows and a dedicated ultrasound educator who are responsible for both teaching and providing Quality Assurance for scans.

In addition to the scanning shifts, students attend ultrasound education day every Wednesday of their rotation. Students will be expected to participate in our weekly journal club as well as present an interesting ultrasound case during the second week of the rotation. We additionally provide protected time to attend the Department of Emergency Medicine’s weekly grand rounds on Thursday mornings.

The Emergency Ultrasound Elective at LA General Medical Center is offered as either a two or four week rotation, depending on both the student’s schedule and availability.  During the two-week rotation, trainees will complete ten six-hour scanning shifts; during the four-week rotation, trainees will complete twenty six-hour scanning shifts. During scanning shifts, trainees will scan with residents and faculty and will progress to independent scanning once they are appropriately trained.

We take two students per two-week block. From May through November, we give priority to students applying to Emergency Medicine for residency. Slots fill fast, so please apply early. Contact Hiralda Godoy (hgodoy@med.usc.edu), our clerkship coordinator, for scheduling availability.

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.


U.S. Applicants:

  1. Apply to the Keck School of Medicine of USC Student Affairs using the AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).
  2. Students who wish to rotate between May and November must also email our clerkship coordinator, Hiralda Godoy (hgodoy@med.usc.edu) the following information:
    1. Your top three preferred start dates (in order of preference) and preferred length of your rotation. (Please see above for dates.)
    2. The name and email address of your EM faculty advisor/mentor, or a faculty mentor who knows your career choice and can verify your goals and plans.
    3. The specialty/specialties you will be applying to.

International Applicants:

  1. International students must submit the above and contact our Office of Student Affairs.
    Office of Student Affairs
    Phone: (323) 442-2553
    Fax: (323) 442-2663
  2. Additionally, international students must be enrolled in a medical school that meets one of the following:
    1. Participate in the Global Health Learning Opportunities (GHLO) Collaborative.
    2. Have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Click here.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate international students from schools that do not satisfy one of the above.

Clerkship Contacts

Emergency Ultrasound Medical Student Elective Director

Talib Omer, MD, RDMS

Clerkship Coordinator

Hiralda Godoy