Back row from left to right: Jaclyn Cotgreave, Alex Arnieri, Chelsea Jensen, Justin Harricharran, and Barbara Piccirillo. Front row left to right: Jiawen Huang, Sara Winter, and Caroline Herrera.
A team of six, second-year physician assistant studies students took first place in the Yes, I Scan: Ultrasound Student Workshop and Competition on May 20 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Team Sonic Boom competed against 36 other teams from PA programs across the country for the top honor.
During the competition, Alexandra Arnieri, Justin Harricharran, Caroline Herrera, Jiawen Huang, and Chelsea Jensen demonstrated their ultrasound skills in a variety of clinical circumstances. (Their teammate, Nicole Driscoll, was unable to attend due to an injury.) For example, the team applied their skills with point-of-care ultrasound (the use of portable ultrasonography at a patient’s bedside) to quickly and correctly diagnose a patient in shock caused by a pulmonary embolism from a deep venous thrombosis of the leg. They also demonstrated the correct point-of-care ultrasound applications and ordered the appropriate labs and treatment protocol.
PA student Jiawen Huang administers an ultrasound as her teammates look on. From left: Caroline Herrera, Justin Harricharran, Alex Arnieri, and Chelsea Jensen.
Assistant Professor Barbara Piccirillo, M.S., who specializes in emergency medicine with a concentration in point-of-care ultrasound (the use of portable ultrasonography at a patient’s bedside), helped prepare the students for the competition. “Professor Piccirillo was, in fact, the workaholic out of all of us,” Driscoll said. “She demanded excellence and expected nothing less from the team. We dedicated time and effort, even during finals week.” The students also taught a select number of first-year NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine students how to perform an ultrasound.
The students trained for the competition after classes for approximately four months. Along with Piccirillo, Assistant Professor Sara Winter, M.S., and Adjunct Assistant Professor Jaclyn Cotgreave, helped the team get ready for the competition by assigning them pop quizzes. “They took time out of their busy schedules to help us hone our skills,” said Harricharran. “I am forever grateful for the indispensable knowledge and skill they have equipped us with to be ready for the competition.”
In addition to the match-ups, the students participated in a workshop designed to help individuals in the medical field understand the importance of point-of-care ultrasound. “There is always an opportunity to learn, even in the middle of a competition,” said Herrera. “The instructors at each station during the first two rounds were very informative. We learned more about how to improve an image, different indications for a type of exam, and about the PA profession overall.”