Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

CLINIMAG 709 - Principles of Clinical Ultrasound

15 Points

Semesters 1 and 2, 2019



Provides a fundamental understanding of ultrasound technology and applications. Students will examine components of the clinical environment including transducer technology, quality assurance, bio-effects and safety, and apply these to clinical practice. In addition, students will analyse standard imaging techniques, normal and abnormal imaging appearances of the abdomen, pelvis and lower leg veins and perform examinations of these areas.

Objectives and learning outcomes

This course aims to provide students with specialised theoretical knowledge and an understanding of the fundamental physical principles of ultrasound. The student will develop the ability to apply this knowledge in the safe use of ultrasound equipment for clinical and/or research purposes. In particular, this course will investigate common pathologies and the use of standard sonography imaging techniques in relation to a selection of common ultrasound applications. In addition, the course aims to develop clinical competence that is expected of a trainee sonographer during the initial phase of clinical training. The emphasis is on the synthesis of theory and clinical practice with the aim of developing a reflective sonography trainee, who will be well prepared to perform ultrasound scanning under supervision.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical concepts relating to ultrasound technology.

2. Critically discuss specific issues relating to bio-effects and safety within the ultrasound environment.

3. Differentiate and explain normal and altered ultrasound imaging appearances of the abdomen, pelvis and lower leg veins.

4. Make informed clinical judgements with regard to the selection of appropriate scanning techniques and technical parameters for ultrasound imaging of the abdomen, pelvis, and lower leg veins.

5. Apply an evidence-based approach to clinical decision-making and problem solving.

6. Demonstrate professionalism and appropriate levels of communication with patients during sonography imaging.

7. Demonstrate clinical competence of a trainee sonographer in performing basic ultrasound examinations of the abdomen, pelvis and lower leg veins.

Programme and course advice

Corequisite: MEDIMAGE 716

This course is part of the PGDipHSc (Ultrasound) programme. It is a requirement for admission to this course that the student must be a full time student during this semester of study and has an appropriate clinical training position.

For further details regarding admission criteria for this course, please read the following document.

Course delivery and workload

This course is offered in both Semester 1 and Semester 2 and is delivered at Grafton campus with daily tutorial and practical scanning sessions.

Full time daily campus attendance is compulsory as students will be required to participate in all learning sessions. Content resources will also be delivered online via the University of Auckland’s learning management system ‘Canvas’.

The total expected workload for this course is approximately 150 hours. This may be broken down as follows:

  • Set readings and other resources provided on Canvas e.g. videos, websites (20 hours)
  • Tutorial and laboratory participation (70 hours)
  • Assignments and self-directed learning (60 hours)

As this is a clinical course, students will accumulate practical scanning hours as part of meeting the Medical Radiation Technologists Board’s accreditation requirements. Provisions will be available for students to practise their scanning techniques throughout the semester in preparation for their clinical assessments.



Course textbooks

The required textbooks for this course are:

CLINIMAG 709 Principles of Clinical Ultrasound 2018

The physics and technology of diagnostic ultrasound: a practitioner's guide

Robert Gill

Abbotsford, N.S.W.: High Frequency Publishing c2012

CLINIMAG 709 Principles of Clinical Ultrasound 2018 2

Sonography: introduction to normal structure and function (4th ed.)

Reva Curry and Betty Bates Tempkin

St Louis: Elsevier Saunders c2016

Pre-course reading

It is highly recommended that students access the online textbook ‘Clinically oriented anatomy’ (7th ed.) by Moore, Dalley and Agur (2014) via the Philson Library and read ‘Chapter 2: Abdomen’ and ‘Chapter 3: Pelvis and Perineum’ as this will be assumed prior knowledge when you begin the course.



An aggregated mark of 50% or more is required to successfully pass this course. Resubmission of failed assessments is not permitted.

Penalties for excessive word count and/or late submission (without prior written approval for an extension) will be applied in accordance with the 'Medical Imaging Assessment Requirements and Presentation Criteria' document.

The following is indicative of the type of assessments to be completed for this course:

  • Clinical Decision-Making Portfolio (50%)
  • MCQ, Short Answer and Image Evaluation Test (30%)
  • ePortfolio: Oral assessment (20%) and Practical assessment (pass/fail)

Assessment of clinical competence is embedded in this course. Failure to submit or successfully pass any of the clinical ePortfolio components will result in a failing grade for the course. Poor clinical performance cannot be offset by excellent academic results. Please refer to clinical course documentation for further details.


Course Coordinator