Cardiac Sonography Certificate Program

Curriculum and Delivery

This new certificate program will be implemented in a hybrid format with online lectures (via Blackboard) and lab sessions as well as final assessments on-campus (Davie) before graduation. The certificate will start in May 2015 and follow an annual three-semester calendar over a period of one year.

The didactic material will be delivered online using different formats including power point presentations, video-clips, case studies, as well as discussions. Assessment will be based on quizzes, exams, and assignments.

The on-campus portion of this hybrid format will be based on evening lab sessions through the week and/or weekend hours in order to accommodate the target population of already working sonographers expected for this program. Assessments will include one-to-one evaluations done by qualified faculty members.

It is expected that students would spend a minimum of two hours in the lab per week and 5 hours studying the material online. For a 16 week course this amounts to 80 hours of online work and 32 hours in the lab. Please note additional lab sessions will be available on a voluntary basis.

During the clinical externship, the students will attend a cardiac ultrasound clinical site approved by the program. Assessment of this segment of the certificate will be based on recording of clinical hours via Trajecsys, submission of case study logs, clinical mentor evaluations, and one week/weekend of on-campus lab sessions and evaluations. These evaluations will be proctored by program faculty who will make sure learning objectives and required skills are obtained and mastered.

All clinical mentors' credentials will be verified with the ARDMS, or CCI and all clinical sites will be vested by faculty as well.

This three-term program is integrated into a lock-step format and must be completed sequentially during a period of one year and following the rules as determined in the Student Handbook for the College of Health Care Sciences.

This cardiac hybrid certificate program is offered to Florida students. Special consideration will be given to alumni from the NSU Vascular Sonography who may be interested in pursuing the Adult Echocardiography credential whenever the requirements above mentioned are fulfilled and at the discretion of the Program Director.

Term I

Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology - Hemodynamics 2 -
Ultrasound Physics in Echocardiography 2 -
Introduction to Adult Echocardiography I/Lab 3 2

Term II

Adult Echocardiography II/Lab 3 2
Pharmacology and ECG 3 -
Clinical Applications I 2 -
Clinical Externship I 8 -

Term III

Adult Echocardiography III/Lab 3 2
Clinical Applications II 2 -
Clinical Externship II 8 -

Total credits: 42

Curriculum Description - General and Vascular Sonography Core Courses

Course Name

Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology - Hemodynamics
This course is designed to review the cardiovascular thoracic anatomy and physiology, as well as the main concepts of hemodynamic. This course will focus in embryology and the cardiac development, normal anatomy, physiology, and main hemodynamic concepts.

Ultrasound Physics in Echocardiography
This course will focus on the main principles and instrumentation of Ultrasound Physics as it applies to the practice of echocardiographic studies. The students will have the opportunity to become proficient in 2D, M-Mode, Pulse Doppler, Continuous Doppler, Color Doppler, Tissue Doppler, etc as it pertains to the evaluation of the heart and great blood vessels. The students will also review concepts about artifacts, safety, and bioeffects in echocardiography.

Introduction to Adult Echocardiography I/Lab
This course is designed to introduce students into the scanning techniques in adult echocardiography, developing proficiency in the performance of M-Mode, Two-dimensional, and Doppler (pulsed wave, continuous wave, color flow and power) echocardiographic studies. The students will learn, understand, and work on developing proficiency in the use of quantification principles applied to echocardiographic images. The course will be primarily taught in the ultrasound laboratory in small groups, supplemented by online lectures.

Adult Echocardiography II/Lab
This course is designed to give the students in depth knowledge and understanding of cardiac pathology, Pathophysiology, and hemodynamics in different in different types of cardiac disease. The course will be primarily delivered online, hands-on in the cardiac laboratory on-campus and by direct observation during the clinical externship or clinical sites where students are completing their clinical hours.

Adult Echocardiography III/Lab
This course is designed to be a progression of AE I and AEII and will introduce the students into the more clinical aspects of the practice of echocardiography. Students will learn and be able to understand the relationship of echocardiography to history and medical examination, differential diagnosis related to the echocardiographic examination, cardiovascular surgery, and interventional cardiology. Besides, this course will give knowledge and promote understanding of the indications, utility, limitations, and technical procedures for related studies: Stress echocardiography, Intraoperative echocardiography, Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), Contrast echocardiography, Three-dimensional echocardiography, and Echo-guided procedures. This course will be based on lectures and educational material online while the students are attending the clinical externship or clinical sites where students are completing their clinical hours.

Pharmacology and Electrocardiography (ECG)
This course is designed to provide the students with the knowledge and understanding of clinical pharmacology as it relates to echocardiography and provocative maneuvers. The students will obtain knowledge and practice skills on how to obtain, read, and interpret an electrocardiographic tracing (ECG) recognizing normal from abnormal. This course will be delivered online and will have training periods during the lab sessions on campus. Students will develop skills by performing multiple ECG reading exercises.

Clinical Applications I
This course is oriented to train students to recognize critical elements in the echocardiographic study and to interpret /relate them properly to further the echocardiographic study in search for other potential findings that may contribute to confirm, rule out, or expand a cardiac condition. This course will be based on clinical cases, video-clips, article review, etc., and board discussions.

Clinical Applications II
This course will further the development of critical thinking applied to clinical cardiology and the echocardiographic findings and the relationship with other diagnostic, therapeutic modalities. This course will be based on clinical cases, video-clips, article review, etc., and board discussions.

Clinical externship I (16 weeks)
The students will be assigned to a clinical site with a high volume of echocardiographic exams where they will be able to observe and begin performing a number of echocardiographic studies under the direct supervision of a qualified cardiac sonographer or physician. Students will attend their clinical externship completing twenty-four hours per week for the length of the term (16 weeks) (384 clinical hours).

Clinical Externship II (18 weeks)
This is a continuation of the Clinical Externship II and it is designed to provide the students with further clinical experience in their assigned clinical settings. By the end of this course students will complete 432 clinical hours.