FAMUS - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

This page aims to answer any queries you may about Focused Acute Medicine Ultrasound, the training or administration process. If you don’t find the answer here, please e-mail famus@acutemedicine.org.uk and we will endeavour to get back to you ASAP.

ACCREDITATION

Can I accredit in just one module?

No. The accreditation process can only be completed once you have been signed off in all three practical modules (and undertaken the necessary theory module). Therefore, you cannot be accredited in just one module.

However, when you are undertaking accreditation and have had your assessment of completion of training (ACT) signed off for any of the individual modules, you may undertake scans in that area independently prior to completing the rest of your accreditation.

I already have thoracic ultrasound level 1, is that the same as the chest module?

Unfortunately not. There are significant differences between the two accreditation processes so they are not inter-changeable. However, anyone who has achieved level 1 thoracic ultrasound will already have a good understanding of the basics of chest ultrasound and so they may well complete the thoracic module more quickly than the indicative time suggested.

I’ve done a lot of ultrasound before, do I have to complete the minimum number of scans?

Not necessarily. Those with significant ultrasound experience may be able to reduce the time and/or number of mentored scans required to achieve accreditation. This will be decided locally between candidate and Supervisor, and depends entirely on the candidate’s previous level of experience and current competence. Regardless of amount of previous experience, the candidate must complete the minimum number of Supervised scans in order to demonstrate their competence with their Mentor/Supervisor

I’ve already done ICE-BLU…do I have to do the FAMUS e-learning as well?

In November 2018 the FAMUS e-learning modules and assessment were launched. These replace the previous ICE-BLU assessment which was the recommended theory package. For those registered with FAMUS prior to 16th November 2018, you may complete the ICE-BLU assessment as your theory module. For those registering after the 16th November, you must complete the FAMUS e-learning and assessment for your theory module.

Although those candidates who registered prior to November 16th 2018 do not have to complete the FAMUS e-learning, we would strongly recommend it. It contains a useful revision of all the theoretical concepts relevant to FAMUS and is tailored to the curriculum, unlike the ICE-BLU module which was not so relevant.

I’m not a doctor, can I undertake FAMUS accreditation?

Absolutely! We welcome all allied health professionals to accredit, as we acknowledge that the AMU team is made up of a varied number of professionals all of whom are involved in frontline care. The only caveat is that you are registered with your professional body (or on the voluntary register for PAs). Healthcare students may also undertake the training, although they may only become accredited once completing their professional training and becoming registered (or provisional registration in the case of F1 doctors).

 

SUPERVISION

I don’t understand the difference between a mentor and a Supervisor?

To complete FAMUS accreditation, you must have a Supervisor who oversees your training and ultimately signs you off (much like an Educational Supervisor in medical training). They must be registered on the database and therefore have shown that they are competent to teach across the whole curriculum. Only a registered Supervisor can sign off the Summary of Training Record which ultimately grants you accreditation.

A mentor is someone who is competent to teach an individual component of the curriculum (like a vascular technician for the DVT module), but may not be competent across the whole curriculum. They do not have to be registered on the database, but instead just need to be agreed as suitable to train you by your Supervisor.

Therefore, much of your hands-on training may be delivered by mentors, while your Supervisor can oversee your training and sign you off as competent at the end.

I’ve got some experience at ultrasound but I’m not sure if it’s enough to become a Supervisor?

There are many people out there who have much experience in ultrasound, but perhaps not in the full breadth of the FAMUS curriculum. We would encourage you to submit a Supervisor application form (details available here), and the committee will get back to you regarding your suitability to be a Supervisor. We are planning to run regular Train the Trainers courses to allow those with ultrasound experience but perhaps missing parts of the curriculum to become registered Supervisors as soon as possible.

What if there isn’t a Supervisor at my hospital?

This is a common issue, and we recognise this is the biggest barrier to achieving FAMUS accreditation. The most practical solution is to approach your local Radiology Department to see if there are any willing Consultants who can oversee your accreditation, and would be happy to therefore register as a Supervisor. It is important to remind them that they don’t have to physically supervise you doing all the scans – that can be left to mentors like Sonographers – but they will have to approve the people who do train you (your mentors).

In our experience, enthusiasm and persistence with Radiology department does seem to bear fruit, especially if you emphasise that once trained you will be likely to reduce the burden on Radiology services in the future!

Another option is to approach a Supervisor who is physically close to your hospital, who may be willing to oversee your training if you can find local mentors who will deliver much of the practical aspect of it. It is always worth asking.

Finally, we are working on a remote/web-based Supervision tool to reduce the impact of not being physically close to your Supervisor (scans and reports are reviewed online), which will help. You will however still have to have an approved Supervisor who agrees to help you remotely. More details about this will be released once confirmed.

Can I use remote/online supervision?

See above! The answer is yes, if you find a Supervisor who is happy to supervise you remotely (remember, they will still need to approve your mentors delivering the training if they agree to be your Supervisor). It is worth remembering that a Supervisor does not need to actually deliver any of your training themselves, if they are happy with your mentors. Their role is to oversee your training rather than directly deliver it (much like an Educational Supervisor in medical training).

The exact details of our approved remote supervision tool will be released as soon as they are confirmed, but there are a number out there already.

My potential Supervisor isn’t registered on your database, can I still register for accreditation?

If you have a Supervisor in mind who is experienced in ultrasound but not yet registered, we would encourage them to fill in an application form as soon as possible so we can consider their suitability to be a Supervisor. If they are experienced in the whole curriculum then they are highly likely to be accepted.

You may still register for accreditation without a registered Supervisor, but we don’t routinely recommend it.

I don’t have a Supervisor, can I still register?

You can, although we would recommend you only pay to register once you have a Supervisor confirmed.

 

ADMINISTRATION

I’m interested in running a FAMUS course, how do I organise one?

If your proposed course covers all of the four FAMUS components (theory, thoracic, abdominal/renal and DVT/peripheral vascular access) then it is likely we will be able to approve new Course sites. We would ask that you e-mail the course details to the administrator (famus@acutemedicine.org.uk) and we will endeavour to get back to you ASAP.

For new course sites, we ask that the first course be delivered with a FAMUS committee member as part of the faculty to quality assure the program and delivery, but subsequent courses at that site can be delivered according to the same programme with whatever faculty are chosen locally.

We also ask for a voluntary course fee to be paid to SAM, which allows the course to be advertised on the SAM website, and the course organisers access to the FAMUS lectures and course handbook for attendees – more details are available from the FAMUS administrator.

 

If your query is not answered above, then please contact the administrator (famus@acutemedicine.org.uk) who will aim to respond to you as soon as possible.

 

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