A Novel Hands-on Approach Towards Teaching Diagnostic Radiology Residents MRI Scanning and Physics

Published:January 13, 2023DOI:

      Rationale and Objectives

      Traditional approaches towards teaching magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning and physics have limitations that a hands-on course may help overcome. A dedicated week of MRI instruction may help improve radiology resident confidence and competence. Additional benefits may include improved physician-technologist communication and accelerated mastery of MRI safety.

      Materials and Methods

      Surveys and tests were approved by our Program Evaluation Committee and administered at the beginning and at the end of this one-week course. The course consisted of protected reading time as well as practice scanning with a research magnet and assisting with clinical scanning under the close supervision of a licensed MRI technologist. Eighteen senior residents (nine third-year and nine fourth-year) participated in this course during its first year.


      Few residents had previous experience with MRI physics, scanning, or research prior to residency. After this course, mean resident confidence increased by 0.47 points (3.33 vs 2.86; p=0.01) on a five-point Likert scale. Understanding of MRI physics, as measured by pre- and post-tests, increased by 22% (0.72 vs 0.50; p<0.01), corresponding to a large effect size of 1.29 (p<0.001). Resident feedback reported that this course was efficacious (5/5), engaging (4.9/5), and had optimal faculty oversight. The most highly rated component of the course was the opportunity to experiment with the research MR scanner (5/5).


      A dedicated week of MRI education was highly rated by residents and associated with improvements in confidence and understanding, suggesting a positive correlation between confidence and competence. Additional metrics, such as trends in scores on the American Board of Radiology's Core Examination over the next several years, may further support the apparent benefits of this hands-on MR course.

      Key Words


      ABR (American Board of Radiology), ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PGY (postgraduate year), QA/QI (quality assurance and quality improvement), R3 (third-year radiology resident), R4 (fourth-year radiology resident)
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