Radiologic Sciences Students Advance Skills Abroad

Three radiologic sciences students recently completed a clinical placement at University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Science, as part of a 'first-of-its kind' exchange agreement between Quinnipiac and UCD.

Undergraduates Julianna Lupo, Hillary Harrington and Kirsten Gonsalves spent six weeks this summer as part of a multi-disciplinary clinical team at St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, which is affiliated with UCD.

Since 2009, University College Dublin and Quinnipiac have worked in partnership to develop the student exchange. The agreement, which will grow and develop over the next few years, also allows for four students from the UCD radiography program to pursue summer clinical and research electives at Quinnipiac.

"This was a goal that I had for many, many years," said Bill Hennessy, clinical associate professor of diagnostic imaging in the School of Health Sciences.

"The way our program was structured, students didn't really have any time for study abroad. I've always felt that it would be something very unique and something very different if our students had this kind of opportunity, and specifically one that is related specifically to clinical practice," he said.

Hennessy said the most important and valuable thing for Quinnipiac students is the experience of working and understanding health care systems that differ from the American model. In addition to their clinical work, students are encouraged to critically analyze the similarities and differences that exist between the two systems.

"This was a pretty unique experience for us. Seeing first-hand how the Irish system operates--and it is very different from the system in the U.S.--was fascinating," said Lupo.

Gonsalves pointed to subtle differences in the specifics of diagnostic imaging in Ireland.

"I'd never used a smart-move machine until I came here. I've never even seen one in the U.S. The X-ray systems that we've been using here, you set up the program to pick a specific body part. So, say you're doing a left ankle, you just press a button and it sets up for you. Beyond positioning the patient, it's not technically difficult. Back home it's completely different. If you move one thing, you have to move the other, and then you have to move the patient as well," said Gonsalves.

Jonathan McNulty, head of teaching and learning, diagnostic imaging, at UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, said that this is just a first-step and represents an early demonstration of a relationship that has huge collaborative potential for both universities.

"It's gone fantastically well but we won't stop here. We're looking forward to growing and developing this relationship. While the exchange aspect is hugely positive for both student cohorts, we're also very excited at the implications for collaboration in the area of research and innovation," he said.


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