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Key Factors to Attract More U.S. Diagnostic Radiology Residents into the Field of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging: A National Survey

Published:September 01, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.07.025

      Rationale and Objectives

      To understand the current state of radiology residents' exposure to nuclear medicine and molecular imaging (NM/MI), determine key factors that may attract more trainees into the field, and identify differentiating aspects between those specializing in NM/MI and those who are not.

      Materials and Methods

      An anonymous web-based survey was sent to contacts at all diagnostic radiology residency programs in the United States for dissemination to their residents, collecting information about trainees' NM/MI exposure during residency and factors that may attract them to NM/MI.

      Results

      A total of 198 trainees responded to the survey, 34 of whom plan on pursuing a career in NM/MI. Most trainees reported early exposure to NM/MI during residency; most (97.4%) reported ample exposure to general NM/MI and oncologic studies. Less than 3% of trainees reported adequate exposure to therapies, neurological applications, molecular imaging/research advances, and physics. Respondents reported a need for better quality education (38.9%) and exposure to mentors (28.8%) as ways to attract trainees to NM/MI. Routinely encountered clinical pathology was the most interesting for those specializing in NM/MI (29.4%), whereas lifestyle was the most attractive aspect of NM/MI for those not pursuing a career in the field (27.4%). NM/MI-associated research was the least attractive for those specializing in NM/MI (35.3%), while job market concerns was the least attractive aspect for those not specializing in NM/MI (37.2%). Trainees planning to specialize in NM/MI reported higher satisfaction with their orientation to NM/MI during their first clinical rotation compared to those who do not plan to specialize in the field (3.03/5.00 and 2.67/5.00, respectively, p = 0.04).

      Conclusion

      This survey highlights several factors that training programs and national societies can target to improve interest in NM/MI among radiology residents. We found that optimized education initiatives, including improved orientation to the field, increased mentoring, and career opportunities are essential levers for recruiting radiology trainees into the NM/MI workforce.

      Key Words

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