Survey data reveal a potential window of opportunity for attracting student interest in nuclear medicine

Informative seminars offered to college students could help increase knowledge and interest in the field of nuclear medicine

Experts recently published a paper in Academic Radiology detailing their efforts to garner more student interest in the field—efforts that were successful, according to a survey responses from students who completed the short seminar. 

“Recruitment within the field of radiology including its various subspecialties is an important issue that must be addressed to help attract a bright, diverse, and well-staffed workforce,” corresponding author on the work Paige Bennett, MD, from the Department of Radiology at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, and co-authors shared. 

Noting the “dwindling workforce” in nuclear medicine, Bennett and colleagues stressed the importance of early outreach efforts in attracting diverse candidates into the field. They sought to meet this need by developing a short “Introduction to Nuclear Medicine” seminar for undergraduate college students and preclinical medical students. The program lasted 30 minutes and offered an overview of the field of nuclear medicine, including detailed information about the pathways to practice. 

Upon completion, 79 of the 83 student attendees completed a survey to gauge their perceived takeaways and perspectives of the field of nuc med. Nearly half of survey respondents were women, and 50% identified as multiracial. Experts recorded significant increases in perceived understanding of nuclear medicine within the responses, in addition to an uptick of interest in pursuing the specialty as a career.  

The rise in interest was found to be most prevalent in first year medical students, which the authors suggested could present a potential target timeframe for candidate engagement. 

“These results should be reassuring to educators in the field who wish to recruit students at their home institutions,” the authors wrote. “Future interventions may be easily combined with other recruitment efforts, such as interest groups or research programs which have also shown efficacy in increasing student interest in radiology and its subspecialties.” 

More insight from the survey results can be viewed in Academic Radiology

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