Incorrect perception of the public regarding the radiologist is a source of growing concern. For radiology to enjoy a prestige commensurate to its output, attract quality students and adequate funding, it is imperative for the public to appreciate who a radiologist is. This paper sought to obtain responses on questions from a medical community. Structured questionnaire administered to a total of 511 respondents from University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital and responses thereof were analyzed. There were a total of 511 respondents of which 280 [54.8%] were doctors, 207 [40.5%] medical students, 13 [2.5%] laboratory scientists, 4 [0.8%] anesthesia technicians, and 7[1.4%] nursing students. Of the 511 respondents, 19 [3.7%] indicated that radiologists are not medical doctors. Twenty one respondents [5.8%] were not aware that doctors undergo any further training to become radiologists. While 93 respondents [18.2%] considered radiology to be just a money making field, 14 [2.7%] thought that radiology is unimportant. Thirty one [6.1%] indicated that radiologists lacked basic medical knowledge and 15 [2.9%] felt that anybody or any physician can practice as a radiologist. Fifty [9.8%] saw no difference between a radiologist and a doctor turned sonographer while 25 felt that radiologists were one and the same as radiographers. Findings in this study appears to reinforce the perturbing perception that the radiology specialty and the role of its practitioners as invaluable players in the health team is not yet fully appreciated by some, even in a medical community.
There appears to be a wide gulf of knowledge among the general public with regard to the person and role of the radiologist as a specialist physician [www.radiologyinfo.org; Antioch et al., 2003;Gunderman, Williamson, Fraley, & Steele, 2001]. This becomes a growing concern when viewed against the backdrop that these misconceptions exist even among the medical community [Mulisa, Tessima, & Merga, 2017; Mankad & Bull, 2005; Parekh & Gandhi, 2011]. Modalities of increasing number and sophistication have appeared on the scene since Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen discovered x-rays in 1965 [Parekh & Gandhi, 2011; Pearson, 2006; Margulis & Sunshine, 2000]. This deluge has put increasing demands on the radiologist to increase productivity at least when this is defined in the context of number and rate of images interpreted [Gundermann & Mehta, 2009]. Unfortunately, the consequence of productivity pressures appears to be that radiologists end up looking more at patients’ images than the patients themselves, resulting in diminished patient interaction and perception and complaints of reduced visibility [Gunderman, Davilla, Shetty, Galdino, 2005; Borgstede, 2005]. As a consequence many people do not know who the radiologist is or what they do [Gundermann & Mehta, 2009]. This lack of knowledge about radiology and radiologists is not restricted to the general public as seen in a study among US congressional staffers who expressed surprise that radiologists are physicians [Borgstede, 2006].
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