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An INTERVIEW with EMUGs Central Council Chairperson...

Dr Alastair Maclean

A bit about Alastair, professionally speaking…I am an ED doctor who trained in the UK having worked in the Royal Melbourne and Christchurch as a junior. The first time I used POCUS was as a Renal SHO for lines in 2003 which was little more resolution than a bladder scanner. As bad at exams as I am, I have managed to pass MRCP and FRCEM in the UK and FACEM here. In the UK I was signed off as Level 1 POCUS which was a new thing at the time. That really only wet my appetite and so I completed the PGCert in point of care Ultrasound at Otago in 2013.

Why did you choose EMUGs? How did you get involved? EMUGS, I was probably always going to be involved in it. I think and see POCUS as an integral skill to have in providing emergency care particularly in remote settings. Somehow I got onto an email list of interested people before I managed to attend any meetings, they always seemed to be in Auckland when I was working. My colleague suggested there be a meeting in Tauranga and so I finally got to meet other enthusiasts from other centres.

What value does your involvement with EMUGs give to you? The meetings are excellent educational value, the community EMUGS has fostered allows the sharing of resources to stop me having to reinvent the wheel and means there are people I can call outside my region when I have a POCUS question. From it I have met people I can aspire to be as good at using ultrasound clinically as they are.

What drives your POCUS passion? Caffeine. (and the shortcut to a clearer answer)

Favourite travel destination… Anywhere I can get to and then get lost in, I enjoy. Probably the place I have the best memory of is Laos and travelling down the Mekon river.

Who are you outside of work? Still me.

What is your vision for EMUGs? Hopefully EMUGS can continue to get clinicians the skills they need to use ultrasound in whichever situation they find themselves in. I hope that we facilitate learning where it is required and people get enthused and pay that learning forward by improving local systems/learning and sharing solutions with the rest of the community. Most of all I hope it remains fun.

What progress have you seen with regard to POCUS? What would you like to see? Machines are better and more robust with images now able to be part of the patient record. Specialities now recognise and use those images. I think AI will be part of the future in helping us be more sensitive. I would like to see it taught at an undergraduate level, and think it will.

A message for those new to POCUS/those contemplating getting involved with EMUGs: Just do it! Befriend someone who will support you, do a basic course and start scanning. But keep a log book, that way when you are trying to either find scans to teach or show your experience you have the proof and it is part of your work flow. The POCUS passport makes this much easier than the faded prints I used to use.

I look forward to having a beer/snowboard with you in Queenstown this year or a surf in Noosa next.


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