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Training the next generation of radiologists, radiographers, and nurses

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The second panel discussion at Radiology & Imaging Conclave 2021 was ‘Training the next generation of radiologists, radiographers, and nurses

The panelist analysed and discussed about the training of next generation of radiologist. All the relevant aspects of training and safety related issues faced by radiologist.

The esteemed panelists for this discussion were Dr Deepak Patkar, Director, Medical Services & Head, Department of Imaging, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai (Moderator); Dr Akshay Baheti, Associate Professor, Dept of Radiology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai; Dr Malini Lawande, Consulting Radiologist, Innovision Imaging, Nanavati Max Superspeciality Hospital & Sir HN Reliance Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai; Dr Aniruddha Kulkarni, Professor Radiology, Founder Director & Faculty, ScholarMD; Dr Mitusha Verma, Consultant Radiologist, MRI, PET-CT & CT, Department of Imaging, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai and Prof (Dr) Narendra K Bodhey, Professor & Head, Department of Radiodiagnosis, AIIMS Raipur.

The moderator Dr Patkar began the session by saying that, today radiology is the most sought-after branches and specialties of medicine not only in India but globally. With the increasing availability and advancements in medical imaging modalities, technology like CT and MRI has become an integral part of medicine today. As a result, radiology is becoming a key specialty not only for diagnosis but also in guiding and monitoring the treatments that the patient receives. With advancements in radiology, we have gradually moved from diagnostics to therapeutics and much more. New technologies like teleradiology and artificial intelligence have witnessed new level of acceptance and utility in COVID times.

“A strong foundation will be required for youth so that they become leaders of tomorrow. Our job as a teacher and a doctor is to impart the skills and knowledge we acquired in our long career. Our curriculum might need some radical changes in the years to come. Knowledge about radiation safety and MRI safety forms an integral part of our field and this aspect needs to be more focused in our current curriculum programme. Training of radiologists, radiographers, and nurses needs more standardization of protocols”, he added.

Stressing on the need of the hour in radiology education in India, Dr Kulkarni said, “In India, unfortunately, apart from premium institutes like AIIMS and CMC Vellore, at all other places older themes are still being followed in terms of radiology teaching. NMC as well as medical council of Inda has given has given a specific guideline for postgraduate teaching and curriculum but the manner in which it is being implemented in various government institutes is entirely different. We need to look at the structured training programme of post-graduate radiology student has to be uniform all across the India so that we can have a standardised outcome out of that institute which is comparable to most of the peer heads who are doing better all over the India.”

Talking about the importance of sub-specialty in radiology, Dr Bodhey said, “The moment there are sub-specialty branches from other subjects or departments, there is a feeling of insecurity and that’s the reason even the teacher needs to be clinically better so that it expands the clinical interest of post-graduate resident. AI has a big input of data but validation is a big question. Incorporating AI as a part of radiology training is very important.”

Stressing on the democratisation of radiology education, Dr Lawande said, “Our current curriculum has been changing over the years with some positive changes but it is still not in complete syn with what the actual practice is. And that is why, democratisation is indeed the need of the hour accompanied with the minimum competency level.”

Talking about the Safety aspects in radiology, Dr Baheti, “The most obvious part of safety is preventing the direct harm to the patient. Some places implement it rigorously and some places need more standardization of SOPs etc. Another aspect of safety is indirect harm like a diagnostic error or catching a diagnosis and not communicating accurately. All these issues are still not properly implemented in our system. Third aspect is staff safety which is now also a part of overall safety scenario especially due to COVID era like work-life balance and burn outs. We need a lot of ground to cover in this area as well. Patient safety issues in Radiology needs more quality assessment. As far as radiology education is concerned, cultural shift is the need of the hour.”

Role of advances and research in radiology, Dr Verma said, “A three year-course in radiology is not enough to channelise the young radiologist. With technology advancements, proper sub-specialisation is also required. This could be the real differentiator along with streamlining of young radiologists for research. With technology on the rise in the field of radiology, streamlining young radiologists with focus on sub-specialisations is very important.”

The discussion concluded with the consensus that investigations are important but prognostication are more important for better patient safety and satisfaction and helps in increasing the accuracy and precision of reports. It is important to inculcate an aptitude towards this in our future generation along with thorough knowledge of the subject.

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