Academies and E-RITI
The Royal College of Radiologists report on the radiology workforce in June 2012 showed in 2010 the United Kingdom had approximately 4.6 radiologists per 100 000 (2869 consultant radiologists). The report recommended that the country should have 8 radiologists per 100 000 population ( 5000 consultant radiologists). As you can see there was a massive shortage and there was a drive to increase the number of radiologists in the UK by 2008. With the traditional way that radiologists werre being trained up, the UK would not have the required number of radiologists it needed. Hence a collaboration with the Royal college of Radiologists and the UK Department of Health in establishing centres (or academies) that are dedicated to training more radiologists. These were:
Along with this came the birth of e-riti modules. E-riti stands for ‘electronic radiology integrated training initiative’. It is a series of on line lectures designed for one to learn specific topics at their own pace. All radiology trainees have access to this and you may be able to find out more about it from the website:
Here’s a screen cap showing some of the modules that exist:
As you can see they are based in to topics and sub-topics aimed at teaching you what you need to know at a core level trainee.
The academies themselves involved a completely different approach to training using computer linked e-learning sessions, validated case archives (VCA, where one can study images of actual cases along with the pathology and the diagnosis), skills labs, libraries and a lecture room.
The way the rest of medicine works is like an apprenticeship. You do your day to day to job and learning from more senior members of the team. Academies try to balance training with clinical experience. This is possible due to the unique way we radiologists can learn. Our learning can come from old films. Once a patient has a scan, it’s in an archive for everyone to learn from and can be accessed in an ‘electronic learning database’.
Trainees will have access to computerised tutorials, image archives, simulators and also traditional lectures. It depends on the training scheme how they choose to balance clinical time with the academy time. Some places will have a month at an academy, followed by a month in the clinical environment.
The advantages are that through the academies the trainers (consultants) are able to maintain dervice commitements within the NHS as well as teach. The training of the registrars can be maintained and monitored through electronic assessments. This means that instead of trying to squeeze in time to learn between service and training sessions whilst on the job, you’ll have dedicated time provided for you to learn.
I think the argument that may come at you regarding this can be summarised as ‘context’. Some traditional radiology schemes would argue that the main learning happens in the job and that learning in this way takes away from the practical experience one would get from working in a clinical environment day in and day out. For example, you can simulate being on the wards and looking after sick patients but nothing can beat learning from actually doing the job itself. The flip side would be that through a structured teaching programme you would not be ‘thrown in the deep end’ and go into the clinical environment only when you are ready.
Obviously it’s personal. You have to decide what works for you, but also be aware of the discussion points that exist in case it does get brought up.