CLINIMAG 709 : Principles of Clinical Ultrasound

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Addresses normal and abnormal ultrasound imaging appearances, scanning techniques and applications associated with abdominal ultrasound examinations. An emphasis will be placed on integrating theory and clinical practice elements to facilitate sound clinical reasoning, decision-making and clinical competence. Develops clinical competence to the level expected of a trainee sonographer during the initial phase of clinical training.

Course Overview

This course aims to cultivate a critically questioning approach to ultrasound imaging of the abdomen. Students will be required to assimilate the underlying physical principles of ultrasound with relevant biological processes and imaging appearances. In addition, the course aims to develop clinical competence that is expected of a trainee sonographer during the initial phase of clinical training. Learning activities and assessments are designed to support the development of not only clinical competency, but also growth holistically as a reflective practitioner who will be well prepared to perform ultrasound scanning under supervision.

The course is delivered at Grafton campus with daily tutorial and practical scanning sessions. Full-time, daily campus attendance is compulsory. Students must have a clinical training position in ultrasound and are nominated by their employers to attend this course. Selection of successful candidates is made by the Northern Regional Alliance (NRA). Students cannot self-enrol and will be required to submit an enrolment concession request, along with additional supporting documentation from their employer.

Students selected to enrol in this course will be exempted from CLINIMAG 719 which is a compulsory part of the PGDipHSc (Ultrasound) programme.

Course Requirements

Corequisite: MEDIMAGE 716 Restriction: CLINIMAG 719

Course Contacts

Course Director
Dr Beau Pontré
Senior Lecturer

Course Coordinator
Karen Wallis
Professional Teaching Fellow

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate a range of applications to investigate specific regions and pathologies of the abdomen. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 and 3.2)
  2. Critically discuss appropriate protocols and scanning techniques for abdominal imaging. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 and 2.2)
  3. Integrate knowledge of normal and abnormal anatomy, embryology, pathophysiology, ultrasound physics and clinical data, with imaging appearances, to provide a provisional interpretation and differential diagnosis. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 4.1 and 4.2)
  4. Apply an evidence-based approach to clinical decision-making and problem solving. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 and 3.2)
  5. Demonstrate professionalism and appropriate level of communication competency with patients and colleagues. (Capability 4.1, 4.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  6. Demonstrate beginner level clinical competence and safe practice in performing selected basic ultrasound examinations. (Capability 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Written Assignment 35% Individual Coursework
MCQ, Short Answer and Image Evaluation Tests 45% Individual Test
Oral Assessment 20% Individual Coursework
Practical Assessment Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Written Assignment
MCQ, Short Answer and Image Evaluation Tests
Oral Assessment
Practical Assessment
This course is 100% internally assessed. An aggregated mark of 60% or more is required to successfully pass this course. Resubmission of failed assessments is not permitted.  

In addition, the Practical Assessment is a course hurdle requirement, meaning that this assessment must be passed in order to pass the course.
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 course Canvas page has more detailed information on assessment processes and requirements.

Workload Expectations

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15-point course represents approximately 150 hours of study. This may be broken down as follows:
  • Set readings relevant to ultrasound theory 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 also accumulate practical scanning hours as part of meeting the Medical Radiation Technologists Board's accreditation requirements.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials, labs and clinics to complete and receive credit for components of the course.

The course will not include live online events.

Attendance on campus is required for the tests.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

The required textbooks for this course are:

  •  Curry, R. & Tempkin B. (2017). Sonography. Introduction to normal structure and function. (4th ed.) London: Saunders.
  •  Rumack, C.M., Wilson, S.R., Charboneau., J.W.,& Levine, D. (2017). Diagnostic ultrasound. (4th ed.) Vol.1. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby.
Students will be required to purchase a copy of the textbook by Curry and Tempkin. Students may purchase the other textbook although online copies are available via the Philson Library catalogue.

Other course materials are made available in the course website located in the University’s learning platform Canvas, which also includes reading lists (where available). In addition, a large selection of other resources will be able to be accessed online via the Philson Library databases.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Postgraduate courses do not have a Class Representative. However, the Medical Imaging Postgraduate Student Representative (Bridgette Place) can take feedback to the Medical Imaging Board of Studies. Bridgette may be contacted by email at

Students who responded to the course SET evaluations in 2019 agreed that the course content was well organised, the aims of the course and assessment strategy were clear, and they received helpful feedback on their progress. Overall, students were very satisfied with the small group teaching, and overall quality of this course. Regular film reading and clinical decision-making sessions were universally popular, along with the practical scanning labs, as these allowed integration of theory and clinical practice. 

Students suggested that inconsistencies between tutor expectations led to some confusion for students, in practical scanning labs. In the future, a more prescriptive guideline will be provided to external tutors, to help mitigate this confusion.

This course was cancelled in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Other Information

All official communication to a student will be sent to the student’s current University email address ( and the student is responsible for ensuring that any desired forwarding to other addresses is in place and operating correctly. Staff will not be responsible for any consequences if students fail to read and respond to University correspondence in a timely manner.

Students are encouraged to use the course ‘Discussion’ forum on Canvas as much as possible for communication with staff and other students. Email may be used for more private matters. Email communication to University staff and supervisors must be sent from the student’s University email address.

As a general rule, students are advised to log-on at least twice a week. Logging on regularly allows regular checking of 'Announcements' as well as reading and responding to messages from peers on 'Discussions'.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

The way to avoid plagiarism is to reference your work. Please refer to the following website for further information about academic referencing:

The document ‘Guidelines: Conduct of Coursework’ provides further advice on how to avoid plagiarism. It can be found in the ‘Medical Imaging Programme Information’ on Canvas.

The penalties for plagiarism can be severe, including losing some or all of the marks for the assignment. Major offences can be sent to the University’s Discipline Committee, where further penalties can be imposed.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter

Fitness to practise (FTP)
As health professional students, in addition to meeting the University of Auckland graduate profile capabilities, students in the Medical Imaging postgraduate programmes are required to demonstrate their fitness to practise. This applies to students at all times, whether they are on campus, on placement or elsewhere.

Fitness to practise (FTP) is concerned primarily with patient and public safety. It also is concerned with upholding professional standards, including the relevant professional code of conduct, and contributing to the maintenance of the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the profession.

For further information visit FMHS Fitness to Practise Policy (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.