X-rays – Less Radiation, More Knowledge Please

Dr Kunal Patel 22 Nov 2018

Currently, as a medical student or as a graduate, your exposure to radiology can be quite limited. Unless you work within a specialty that liaises closely with the radiology team, your sphere of collaboration and experience is small. This may be partly because most radiologists lock themselves away in dark rooms and bright screens! Truthfully, it is more to do with the learning approaches regarding radiology at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Recent research from Limerick, Ireland utilized an e-learning module that incorporated basic radiological physics (how an x-ray is formed, types of x-rays, the range of x-ray interfaces) for medical students within a graduate programme. This was only part of it and a case study approach was also utilized as the later part of the e-learning module. As with many e-learning pilots, scores improved naturally with comparisons made from the beginning of the course to the end. However, what was more interesting was that confidence improved and the authors were clearly able to show this. For example, confidence significantly improved regarding the determination of an X-ray being normal or abnormal due to the module.

This study highlights that early use of radiology e-learning could potentially prepare medical graduates for life in clinics and wards, especially as radiology and our interaction with radiologists are essential. This work focused on medical students, but I would be clear in stating that exposure to radiology needs to occur at all levels, promoting knowledge and collaboration. A great example of this was work completed in Kenya where the utilization of a collaborative task model, successfully helped build Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) capacity amongst midwives.

Therefore going forward, let’s get more exposed to radiology knowledge, collaboration techniques and other health workers such as midwives. Let’s not get too exposed to the X-rays themselves, unless of course, the benefits outweigh the risk!