Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 186, Issue 3, pp 547–553 | Cite as

Radiation safety awareness among medical interns: are EU guidelines being implemented?

  • A. M. Lee
  • M. J. LeeEmail author
Original Article



European recommendations suggest that medical students should be taught radiation safety before entering clinical practice.


The aim of this study was to produce a summative assessment of radiation protection training in medical school in Ireland.

Materials and methods

A web-based questionnaire was distributed to the 2014 intern population (n = 683) via network intern-coordinators. The survey encompassed knowledge of radiation dose in X-ray investigations, laws governing the prescribing of radiation and complications of radiation exposure to staff and patients.


Response rate was 14.2% (97/683) with all Irish medical schools represented. 64% of interns reported no formal training in radiation safety. 80% correctly identified MRI and 94% US as not posing a radiation risk. 54% identified CT PET as emitting the highest radiation dose to patients. Only 32% correctly identified one CT abdomen/pelvis as equivalent to the dose from 300 to 500 chest X-rays and 22% correctly identified the theoretical lifetime risk of cancer induction from CT abdomen/pelvis as 1 in 2000. While 71% thought it was very important that prescribers should be aware of patient radiation dose and 28% thought it was moderately important, 74% were not aware of any laws governing the prescribing of radiology investigations.


Currently, there is little formal radiation safety training in Irish medical schools. Knowledge of radiation dose and the laws governing prescribing is limited among qualifying interns. Implementation of a formal radiation safety curriculum in Irish Medical Schools would adhere to EU guidelines and improve prescriber knowledge, patient, and personal radiation safety.


Radiation safety Medical school Medical student Radiation protection 



We would like to thank the intern tutors from various medical schools for their help in distributing the survey.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of human rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent is not applicable as this study does not contain any studies with human participants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Imaging and Interventional RadiologyRoyal College of Surgeons, Beaumont HospitalDublin 9Ireland

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