An assessment of medical students’ awareness of radiation exposures associated with diagnostic imaging investigations

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O'Sullivan, Jennifer
O'Connor, Owen J.
O'Regan, Kevin
Clarke, Bronagh
Burgoyne, Louise N.
Ryan, Max F.
Maher, Michael M.
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Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Published in cooperation with the European Society of Radiology
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Objectives: This study assessed students’ awareness of radiation exposures and determined the impact a curriculum in clinical radiology (CICR) had on awareness. Methods: Six hundred seventy medical students at one medical school were studied. CICR was delivered in yearly modules over the 5-year programme. Five hundred twenty-three students (years 1–5), exposed to increasing numbers of CICR modules and 147 students beginning medical school (year 0), represented the study and control groups, respectively. Students completed a multiple choice questionnaire assessing radiation knowledge and radiology teaching. Results: Most students in the study population received CICR but 87% considered they had not received radiation protection instruction. The percentage of correctly answered questions was significantly higher in the study population than the control group (59.7% versus 38%, p < 0.001). Students who received CICR achieved higher scores than those who did not (61.3% compared with 42.8%, p < 0.001). Increasing exposure to CICR with each year of medical education was associated with improved performance. Conclusions: Assessment of students’ awareness of radiation exposures in diagnostic imaging demonstrates improved performance with increasing years in medical school and/or increasing exposure to CICR. Findings support the Euroatom 97 directive position, advocating implementation of radiation protection instruction into the undergraduate medical curriculum.
Medical students , Radiation protection , Medical education
O’Sullivan, J., O’Connor, O. J., O’Regan, K., Clarke, B., Burgoyne, L. N., Ryan, M. F. and Maher, M. M. (2010) 'An assessment of medical students’ awareness of radiation exposures associated with diagnostic imaging investigations', Insights into Imaging, 1(2), pp. 86-92. doi: 10.1007/s13244-010-0009-8