Introduction: This study compares the attitudes between preclinical and clinical medical students towards radiology, following the introduction of a new radiology curriculum for 1st year students.Materials and Methods: Revision of the 1st year medical school curriculum for the academic year of 2008/9 with the inclusion of 13 one-hour formal radiology lectures integrated with each body system was done in an undergraduate Southeast Asian medical school. In the old curriculum, 1st and 2nd year medical students are not exposed to radiology. They received limited radiology teaching in their 3rd and 5th years with 2 one-hour lectures as part of their medicine and surgery rotations. In the 4th year, they have a one week non-examinable posting in radiology. A survey was administered to preclinical (new curriculum) and clinical (old curriculum) students. Survey responses were tabulated and attitudes between preclinical and clinical students were compared. Results: More than half of the preclinical students (155 out of 270 students, 59%) and 90 out of 720 clinical students (12.5%) responded. Students exposed to the new curriculum had attended one or two dedicated radiology lectures and were considering radiology as a clinical elective. Both groups of students did not feel familiar with radiology as with other specialties, were not considering radiology as a career, but felt that radiology was interesting and important to the overall practice of medicine. Conclusions: Exposure of 1st year students to radiology increases their interest in the subject. Further intervention, fine-tuning of the curriculum and follow-up surveys will be carried out to see if this interest persists throughout their clinical years.
Radiology is not a popular specialty for undergraduate student electives or postgraduate training amongst students from a local undergraduate medical school which is based in Southeast Asia. During the last 2 years (2007 & 2008), none of our elective students came from the local undergraduate medical school. During the May and November 2007 intakes of radiology medical officers (MOs) in our department, 1 out of 5 1st year MOs was a graduate from the local undergraduate medical school.
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