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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-14

Survey of undergraduate medical students on their understanding and attitude towards the discipline of radiotherapy


1 Department of Radiation Oncology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India
2 Undergraduate Medical Students, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India

Correspondence Address:
Daya Nand Sharma
F-39, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.63556

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Aim : The discipline of radiotherapy (RT) in India is considered a low priority subject. Postgraduate (PG) students rarely choose RT as a career option. The possible reasons could be: 1) limited availability of PG course training centers, 2) limited job prospects, etc. We decided to conduct a survey of undergraduate (UG) medical students to find out their awareness, understanding, and attitude toward the subject of RT. Materials and Methods : A simple 12-point questionnaire was designed to assess the level of awareness, understanding, and attitude. It was handed over personally or sent by e-mail or post to UG students of various medical colleges in India. The data provided by respondents was analyzed. Results : During the period from January to June 2008, 400 questionnaires were distributed. A total of 155 respondents sent their responses. Twenty-eight of them (18%) opined that RT is not a part of the bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS) curriculum at their institute. About 84% replied that not more than 10 theory lectures/practical classes are assigned to RT during the entire UG period. About one-third of the respondents stated that there are no separate clinical postings for RT. According to 54% of the respondents, RT is still a low priority subject in the PG setting and the majority (70%) thought that inadequate exposure at the UG level and lack of awareness about the current prospects of RT are the main reasons for this. Conclusion : The results of our survey indicate that the RT is still a low priority subject in India, mainly due to the poor exposure to the discipline and low awareness of the subject of RT during the UG program. The Medical Council of India (MCI) needs to ensure that adequate importance is given to RT in the MBBS curriculum so as to enhance awareness regarding the subject and increase exposure to this specialty.


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