RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES. The authors surveyed current residents and practicing radiologists to assess motivations for and attitudes about radiology moonlighting during residency.
METHODS. One thousand one hundred current fourth-year radiology residents and 1,100 practicing radiologists who finished training within the past 10 years were surveyed. Information was solicited concerning motivations for and attitudes toward moonlighting and the effects of moonlighting on residents' training. Current residents were compared with former residents to assess changes in attitudes about moonlighting.
RESULTS. There were no important differences in the practicing and training cohorts. Of each group, 52% moonlighted. Debt was the main motivating factor influencing a resident's decision to moonlight. Moonlighters owed significantly more money (average debt, $25,804) at the beginning of their residency than did non-moonlighters (average debt, $19,554). In addition, 72% of moonlighters had to begin loan repayments during training with average monthly payments of $284. Departmental policy was less of an influencing factor. There was no statistical difference in the way moonlighters and non-moonlighters spent their time with respect to clinical work, reading radiology, or participating in research.
CONCLUSIONS. Residents moonlight primarily for financial reasons but also perceive a positive educational benefit. Although no significant negative effects on the residency were found in this study, rising debt, decreased forbearance of repayment, and possible resultant increases in the amount of time spent moonlighting, might eventually affect resident's productivity in more traditional residency activities.
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