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J Am Coll Radiol. 2011 Oct;8(10):710-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2011.06.002.

Introducing medical students to radiology as paid emergency department triage assistants.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.



The aim of this report is to provide a detailed description of a program employing medical students to assist with triaging off-hour diagnostic imaging studies at a major academic medical center.


Current and former participants of the Medical student Emergency Department (ED) Radiology Triage Program were interviewed regarding the inception, development, and impact of this program. Student participation and triage activities were compiled and tabulated from scheduling records and triage assistant call logs.


Opportunities for medical students to obtain an intensive, well-organized experience in radiology are often absent or occur relatively late during medical school, which can be problematic for developing basic imaging literacy and for making timely, well-informed decisions regarding radiology as a career path. The authors describe a program that provides students with a rigorous, hands-on experience in radiology relatively early in their training by employing medical students to assist the emergency department radiology staff with managing off-hour radiology workflow. Students work with the off-hour emergency department radiologists and staff members answering phone calls and help to facilitate the ordering and protocoling of studies and the dissemination of results to clinicians.


The employment of medical student triage assistants provides in-depth exposure to clinical radiology relatively early in medical school, while providing an effective system to help streamline the off-hour workflow for attending radiologists, residents, technicians, and support staff members.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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