Last updated: 01.03.12

Medical school studies radiation protection e-learning module.

An Irish medical school has rolled out an e-learning course to provide its students with knowledge about radiation protection.

The University Cork College required fourth-year students learning about medicine to complete the online learning module.

A study in to the efficacy of this approach, entitled An Assessment of the Feasibility and Effectiveness of an E-Learning Module in Delivering a Curriculum in Radiation Protection to Undergraduate Medical Students, was published in the March publication of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Year four students were presented with pre-module and post-module surveys relating to the e-learning course.

A total of 89 per cent of the 127 pupils filled in the pre-test questionnaire, while the latter was completed by 99 per cent of students.

Lead author of the study Sum Leong said: "After the e-learning module, students' post-module radiation protection knowledge had improved significantly."

He noted the experience of pupils can be improved through a combination of virtual learning environments and traditional educational schemes.

The researchers explained the use of diagnostic imaging has increased, which has improved patient outcomes in a variety of ways.

Complications can be detected at an earlier stage, diagnoses are more accurate and medical professionals can assess the effectiveness of their therapies closely.

However, its rising use has come under scrutiny and healthcare providers therefore need to understand diagnostic imaging, the investigators claimed.

This could enable them to use these tools more efficiently, interpret images, understand the potential adverse effects ionising radiation can cause and to know how to use the technology properly.

Mr Leong argued: "The undergraduate medical curriculum is undergoing constant review and modification in response to modern medical developments that are changing clinical practice."

Using alternative platforms of education, such as e-learning courses, could boost the utility of education without overburdening students with "unmanageable lectures and tutorial schedules", he declared.

Therefore, careful planning is required when introducing protection from radiation to young people studying medicine or healthcare, he noted.