Assessment of personal qualities in selection of medical radiation science students

J Nucl Med Technol. 2005 Sep;33(3):180-5.


It is increasingly acknowledged that, in addition to prior academic achievement, there is a need to seek evidence for the abilities and personal qualities of applicants to health professional programs at a university. The aim of this study was to determine the specific abilities and personal qualities required for excellence in practice in the relevant professional domains of medical radiation science (MRS).

Methods: A focus group, consisting of MRS academic staff, developed a questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to senior MRS practitioners throughout Australia and 213 were returned for analysis. Respondents were asked to rate 40 specific abilities and qualities (referred to as "elements") on a 5-point scale.

Results: Two hundred thirteen completed questionnaires were returned, a 53% response rate. One hundred twelve respondents (52%) indicated they currently worked in diagnostic radiography (DR), 57 (27%) worked in radiation therapy (RT), and 44 (21%) worked in nuclear medicine (NM). The duration (mean +/- SD) of the respondents' professional practice in MRS was 14.5 +/- 10 y, with durations ranging from 1 to 43 y. Raw scores and mean scores were examined for any influence of the variable "Number of Years in Practice."

Discussion: No major differences were found between the ratings provided by the practitioners from the 3 different MRS professional domains of NM, RT, and DR. Factor analysis indicated the existence of 3 orthogonal factors in the questionnaire data: (a) treat others professionally and ethically, (b) engage with and be open to others, and (c) problem-solving ability. Qualitative analysis of the respondents' comments provided similar themes: (a) the need for professional competence (knowledge and abilities), (b) ethical behavior, (c) the need for a technology and a people orientation, and (d) MRS should be the first choice of MRS students and not a second choice to other professional degrees.

Conclusion: Senior medical radiation scientists identified professionalism, ethical behavior, engagement with and openness to others, intrinsic specific motivation, and an orientation to people and technology as nonacademic qualities required for excellence in the practice of the professions embraced by MRS.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Education, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Health Physics / education*
  • Health Physics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personnel Selection / methods
  • Radiobiology / education*
  • Radiobiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Science / education
  • Science / statistics & numerical data
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*