Preparing first-year radiology residents and assessing their readiness for on-call responsibilities: results over 5 years

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2009 Feb;192(2):539-44. doi: 10.2214/AJR.08.1631.


Objective: The objective of our study was to evaluate the preparedness of postgraduate year (PGY)-2 residents for independent call responsibilities and the impact of the radiology residency training program on call preparedness using an objective DICOM-based simulation module over a 5-year period.

Materials and methods: A month-long emergency radiology lecture series, conducted over 5 consecutive years, was designed and given to radiology residents at all levels. A DICOM-based, interactive, computer-based testing module with actual emergency department cases was developed and administered at the end of the lecture series. Comparison was made between first-year and upper-level resident test scores using a Student's t test, generalized estimating equations, and individual fixed effects to determine PGY-2 residents' before-call preparedness and the effectiveness of the simulation module to assess call preparedness. Resident scoring on the simulation module was also plotted as a function of progression through their residency program to evaluate the impact of the training program on call preparedness.

Results: Over 5 years, 45 PGY-2, 34 PGY-3, 32 PGY-4, and 35 PGY-5 residents attended the lecture series and completed the computer-based testing module. PGY-2 residents scored an average of 71% +/- 15% (SD), PGY-3 residents scored 79% +/- 11%, PGY-4 residents scored 84% +/- 10%, and PGY-5 residents scored 86% +/- 11% of the total points possible. A statistically significant (p < 0.05) difference in scoring on the simulation module was identified between the PGY-2 residents and each upper-level class over the 5-year period and during 4 of 5 examination years analyzed separately. A trend toward higher average scores for each cohort of residents as they progressed through residency training was identified.

Conclusion: Over a 5-year period, first-year radiology residents scored significantly lower than upper-level colleagues on an emergency radiology simulation module, suggesting a significant improvement in the ability of residents to interpret typical on-call imaging studies after the PGY-2 year.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Professional Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Radiology / education*