'Isolation' hurting radiology

A study published in the European Journal of Radiology has found that a "hidden culture of isolationism" is plaguing many Canadian radiology centers.

The study began as a project designed to optimize medical education through curriculum, and involved interviews with 48 radiology trainees and examination of records in five institutions in Canada.

The researchers defined this "hidden culture" as a "set of influences that function at the level of organizational structure and culture" and affect learning and clinical practice, according to article in AuntMinnie.com. Some of the influences, according to the article, include misconceptions about radiology that are familiar, and could have a negative impact on the profession.

For example, one respondent, after announcing that she planned on practicing radiology, was told, "You're going to be in a dark room! You're never going to see patients! You'll only ever work for yourself! How boring would that be? Would you ever really impact patients' lives?"

In addition, the radiologist trainees indicated that they couldn't find mentors, and lacked guidance both within and outside their departments. The researchers wrote this could be a result of the fact that experienced radiologists are working more hours and have less time for mentoring and teaching.

Another radiologist resident reported that radiology departments have a "bad reputation" in that they sit in their dark rooms all day drinking coffee, reading X-ray, and being extremely unfriendly to visiting clinicians.

"They're always going to be mean, they're always going to refuse to do your tests, they're not going to tell us what we really need to know," the resident said.

If, rather than a culture of isolation, radiologists try to create a culture of support and collaboration, that could put the specialty at the "crossroads of medicine," the researchers concluded.

To learn more:
- see the article abstract in the European Journal of Radiology
- read the article in AuntMinnie.com


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