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Insights Imaging. 2010 May;1(2):86-92. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

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

Abstract

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.

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