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Medical School implements successful radiation protection program for undergraduate medical students

March 01, 2012
Reston, VA -- A medical school in Ireland has successfully implemented a radiation protection program, improving knowledge of radiation protection among medical undergraduates, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Although the increased use of diagnostic imaging has resulted in faster, more accurate diagnosis, better assessment of therapy response, and early detection of complications, there has been a great deal of scrutiny of its increasing use. As a result, there is a growing need for medical professionals to be educated in all aspects of diagnostic imaging to ensure a basic understanding of imaging technology, appropriate and efficient utilization of diagnostic imaging investigations, basic image interpretation and possible adverse effects of exposure to ionizing radiation.

An e-learning module in radiation protection was designed and presented to year four medical undergraduates at University Cork College in Cork, Ireland. All students were required to complete pre-module and post-module questionnaires.

Eighty-nine percent and 99 percent of the 127 medical students successfully completed and returned the pre-module and post-module questionnaires.

"After the e-learning module, students' post-module radiation protection knowledge had improved significantly," said Sum Leong, MB, lead author of the study.

Analysis of post-module radiation protection knowledge suggested that a favorable self-assessment of knowledge of radiation protection, perception of career prospects in radiology and completion of the e-learning module with an increased number of sessions were factor predictive of improved radiation protection knowledge.

"The undergraduate medical curriculum is undergoing constant review and modification in response to modern medical developments that are changing clinical practice. The introduction of radiation protection into undergraduate curriculum therefore requires careful planning to maximize the effectiveness of the course while avoiding overburdening undergraduates with unmanageable lecture and tutorial schedules," said Leong.

"Combining e-learning and more traditional educational programs such as a clinical radiology rotation is likely to improve student experience," he said.

American College of Radiology

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