Dear MARNMP members,
We are half way through Summer and very soon, many of us will resume engagement in academic activity at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The Maltese Association of Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians is taking an active role in promoting Radiology teaching at undergraduate level at the University of Malta Medical School. The importance of teaching radiology to our medical students was discussed in detail with the medical school deanery and a structured plan was agreed to increase the number of learning hours dedicated specifically to medical imaging. Dr Reuben Grech is leading this initiative.
Foundation doctors spend substantial amount of time organizing radiological imaging investigations for patients. Interaction with radiology department does not cease at the end of foundation training. As doctors progress through their training pathways, in various specialities, they invariably interact with Radiology and Nuclear Medicine in a myriad of ways. Emergency doctors may be the first doctors that look at emergent plain xrays, even prior to a radiology report being issued. Doctors from all specialities request imaging investigations with a varying degree of urgency, depending on the clinical scenario. They also attend multidisciplinary team meetings and also discuss cases with radiologists in office consultations.
At undergraduate level, medical students would benefit from learning and appreciating anatomy as it is depicted on medical imaging examinations. They would also benefit from an understanding of basic interpretation of plain xray examinations, that they are likely to encounter in emergency scenarios, such as the diagnosis of common fractures, and common chest xray diagnoses such as pneumonia, pulmonary oedema and pneumothorax. A basic understanding of radiation protection and the clinical roles of the radiologist are essential for the practicing foundation doctor and should therefore form part of the undergraduate curriculum. Beyond formal lectures and tutorials, we should take every opportunity available to us to educate medical students and make them aware of the central role played by radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians in the clinical care of patients. The importance of radiation protection should be emphasized at an early stage of medical education; and so should the importance of referring patients for early imaging in the context of important symptomatology. Students should also be made aware of the crucial importance of radiological interpretation by specialists in the field of medical imaging, ie Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians. A basic understanding of the training pathways of these two sister specialities would help eventual young doctors appreciate the expert role of these specialities and may also inspire them to consider medical imaging as their eventual subspeciality career pathway.
Our contribution to educating doctors outside our specialty does not stop with undergraduate training. Every interaction with colleagues, junior as well as senior, should be considered as an educational opportunity. Be it an office consultation, an MDT discussion, or a mere phone call to vet or review an imaging investigation. All professional interactions have a potential educational aspect.
It's a lifetime of learning....and it's a lifetime of educating! I wish you all a good end of summer and a great academic year 2018/2019.
President of the Maltese Association of Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians.