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Using a Nationwide Virtual Radiology Student Interest Group to Expand Medical Students’ General Awareness, Drive Greater Interest, and Achieve Uniform National Messaging in the Field of Radiology

Published:August 03, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.06.020

      Rationale and Objectives

      Many medical schools offer minimal exposure to radiology, leading to a decreased understanding of the field and negative perceptions among medical students. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a radiology intensive series piloted by a novel virtual radiology interest group. Specifically, we were interested in how radiologists and medical educators can expand students’ general awareness, drive greater interest in the field, and achieve more uniform national messaging across all trainees.

      Materials and Methods

      We launched a national/international interest group called Radiology Student Interest Group (RadSIG) and piloted the RadSIG Intensive, a series of five events aimed at increasing awareness and dispelling misconceptions among preclinical medical students. Validated pre-intensive and post-intensive surveys were used to ascertain the students’ baseline and changed perspectives, respectively. A separate faculty survey was also distributed to understand how they perceived our events. Statistical analysis was carried out on the collected data to identify trends and assess the utility of our programming.

      Results

      205 students completed the pre-intensive survey, and 61 students completed the post-intensive survey. Of the pre-intensive survey respondents, 51.7% (106/205) indicated that they had a limited understanding of what a career in radiology entails. Of those who completed the entire RadSIG Intensive, average 5-point Likert scale scores for understanding of a radiology career rose from 3.30 to 4.38 respectively pre- to post-completion. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed that this difference was statistically significant (Z=-5.95, p<0.001), and that the RadSIG Intensive significantly improved perceptions of radiologists across every single question measured, except for perception of long hours worked (Z=-0.20, p=0.841). The results also showed increased student comfort in reaching out to radiology attendings (Z=-4.30, p<0.001) and residents (Z=-5.12, p<0.001). Faculty survey results indicated positive perceptions of the series.

      Conclusion

      Our results show that the RadSIG Intensive was effective in increasing students’ understanding of radiology as a field and a potential career. Online outreach can also lower the resistance and improve student comfort in reaching out for mentorship, which may provide a new pathway to reach underserved students with a unifying message. By furthering a platform based on voluntary and supplemental resources, we see a far greater potential of impacting the perception and known role of the imager in patient care among our next generation of physicians.

      Key Words

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