Ultrasound Probe Grip: The Afternoon Tea Technique

British tea traditions continue to affect the way medicine is taught and practiced. A new study pours out details.

Ultrasound Probe Grip: The Afternoon Tea Technique,” Luke McMenamin, Stephen Wolstenhulme, Max Hunt, Stuart Nuttall, and Asoka Weerasinghe, Journal of the Intensive Care Society, vol. 18, no. 3, 2017, pp. 258-260. The authors, at medical institutions in Leeds and Dewsbury, explain:

“To encourage medical students and trainees to adopt effective probe ‘etiquette’, to prevent poor probe stability, caused by a pencil/pinch-grip (Figure 1), and improve image quality, the ‘afternoon tea technique’ was devised as a teaching method. Classically in Victorian Britain, the fifth finger was held out whilst drinking tea in aristocratic households. Therefore, the notion of ‘afternoon tea’ and the concept of ‘keeping your little finger’ in contact with the patient’s skin was created (Figure 2) in a bid to keep the probe stable whilst carrying out the procedure.”