Radiology Education of Physician Extenders: What Role Should Radiologists Play?

Jamie L. RiChard, Benjamin P. Liu, David D. Casalino, Eric J. Russell, Jeanne M. Horowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


As physician extenders (PEs) enter the medical community in large numbers, they have an increasing impact on imaging utilization and imaging-based procedures. Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) have an advanced level of education and some practice autonomously. However, PA and NP programs are not required to provide any basic radiology education. For PEs who did receive basic radiology education during their graduate program, the curriculum is nonstandard and there is a wide variation. PEs working in primary care and nonradiology specialties place imaging orders, review report findings, and answer patient questions. Other PEs working within radiology practices operate as liaisons with patients in diagnostic radiology or perform an increasing number of interventional procedures. Basic radiology education in formal PE certificate programs as well as on-the-job education about radiology may benefit patients, radiologists, and the health-care system. What role, if any, should the radiologist assume for educating PE students and practicing PAs and NPs? This review analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of radiologists educating PEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-638
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Physician extenders
  • diagnostic imaging
  • education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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