New UBC RCPD course director, Dr. Shireen Mansouri, brings POCUS-OB to Yellowknife, NT

Dr. Shireen Mansouri, left, is the new POCUS-OB course director for UBC Rural CPD.

The UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development (RCPD) course, Third Trimester Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS-OB, formerly referred to as the Obstetrical Ultrasound course), has grown into a highly successful, far-reaching traveling course in the two years since its launch.

Now, POCUS-OB is seeing some changes, including the appointment of new Course Director, Dr. Shireen Mansouri, as well as some course material and post-course support improvements.

Mansouri, who is based in Yellowknife, NT, always had a desire to “go north.” Spending time in Yellowknife for an elective during medical school (Queen’s University) solidified that interest, and after completing a rural family medicine residency in, Newfoundland, she became passionate about geographically isolated medicine. She refined her critical skills for a year, completing a third year in Emergency Medicine in London, ON.

Mansouri received her own ultrasound training in Saskatchewan during a three month intensive program and explains that “for about ten years I did outreach clinics, mostly to Nunavut. I would go along with the gynecology consultant with an ultrasound machine and four times a year I would do all the scans for the pregnant patients in those communities.” It was opportunities such as these where she gained significant experience in ultrasound and women’s health.

Mansouri became involved in the development of the first iteration of POCUS-OB after meeting former Course Director and emergency medicine physician, Dr. Tandi Wilkinson, in Yellowknife. Both were residing there at the time and had a keen interest in ultrasound. After participating in teleconferences, collaborating on the development the course manual and teaching the course in Salmon Arm, Mansouri became knowledgeable on the course and its content. Now, having assumed the course director role, Mansouri will oversee the course when it visits her own local community on November 10, 2015 to teach 11 participants — mostly family physicians and a few midwives. “There are three [practitioners formally] trained in doing third trimester ultrasound in Yellowknife, but we have a really engaged dynamic obstetrics community interested in learning the skills, so it made sense to train everyone in point-of-care ultrasound.”

Mansouri is thrilled that other providers in her community will have the opportunity to learn these practice improving skills. “If all the OB care providers [in Yellowknife] have these skills, it will provide more patient centered care, as well as comfort to the practitioners. My hope overall [is that this will] translate to retention [of staff and services].”

In addition to appointing a new director, POCUS-OB will also be changing and improving the way the course is delivered. Learning materials, including a hefty training manual currently distributed as a PDF, will be migrated to an online platform; specifically, UBC RCPD will develop modules in a learning management system (LMS), to create a dynamic and engaging learning tool for participants before the course.

Mansouri will also be working with Wilkinson to develop a more robust post-course support system over the next year. They would like to establish connections with obstetricians and radiologists based in the local communities before, during and after the course, which will provide an additional resource and support for practitioners who have just learned the skill. “We recognize that taking the course doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and feel 100 per cent confident in providing the care right away,” says Mansouri. This improvement will take place after consultation with communities in order to explore the best approaches to providing the needed support to course participants, with expected delivery by next Fall.

Lastly, Mansouri urges prospective learners to not be put off from the course if they feel they don’t have enough previous experience or haven’t done procedures or emergency ultrasound, as “you don’t have to have previous ultrasound skills and you don’t have to be somebody who is hugely technically oriented to learn it.” For Mansouri, learning the skill of using ultrasound was an eye opening experience and made a huge difference in terms of her confidence, comfort and ability to provide care to her patients.

If you would like to bring POCUS-OB to your community, visit for more information.