About the ads

  1. Free Financial Webinar with White Coat Investor! Monday evening at 7:00 PM EDT, hear about the Top 5 Financial Considerations for Starting Residents from White Coat Investor's Dr. James Dahle. Register here. Hope to see you there!

The reasons for my interest in Radiology and some suggestions?

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by cmshopeful, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Hi all. A soon to be M1 here.

    I'm already thinking of specialties and ways to maximize admittance to one since early planning can be important for more competitive specialties (ie people interested in rad doing rad related research during their preclinical years).
    One of the specialty I'm interested in is Radiology (the others being PMR).

    I've shadowed a radiologist and think that I'd like radiology because
    * I'm a very visual person. I've always liked photography and digital image manipulation using photoshop. I know photo manipulation and rad are diff. But, the idea of looking at images on a screen is something I have a very positive feeling towards. I learn best by visualizing and it seems that rad is a very visually oriented profession.

    * I'm kind of a mellow and reserved person. I think this type of personality fits the profession.

    * I love physical sciences and physics/chemistry. It seems that rad is more physical science oriented than many other specialties...am I wrong?

    * I like the idea of being 'the guy' rather than a part of a large team (ie surgery)

    * I get bored easily.

    Given above reasons, would rad be a good fit in your opinion?

    Also, how important are research and AOA membership?
    What preclinical courses are important (anatomy?)?
    What clinical rotations are important besides a rad elective in the 3rd yr?

    Thanks!
  2. NPR

    NPR

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Uranus
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    That's not a good fit for radiology.

    As far as the rest of your questions, research and AOA will always help no matter what field you plan to pursue.

    For pre-clinical courses, I wouldn't be too concerned with which specific ones to excel in. Again as always, the more honors the better.

    Regarding clinical rotations, it really depends on what your school offers. My school doesn't offer radiology rotations until the end of 3rd year. So I would quickly follow that up with another rotation as a 4th year and possibly a research rotation. From there, it's often down to personal choices and what your PD recommends.

    My PD is not a big fan of away rotations so I've only opted to pursue one as a 4th year student.
  3. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    What I meant doesn't mean I do not like to work with others. It just means that I prefer a "more" independent practice setting than specialties such as surgery. I guess it was difficult to tell from the wording I used.
  4. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    LBC
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Well...I hope you enjoy being badgered to death by people wondering why the hell [image X] hasn't been read yet (hell, they ordered it 2 hours ago) and I also hope you like non-radiologist attendings (who think they can read scans better than radiologists) ordering the wrong scan for the clinical scenario, and then arguing to get you to agree with them, and finally cursing your name because you get to go home before they do.

    Rads doesn't mean you don't have to work with other people. Other docs often have unrealistic expectations and a poor knowledge of the field combined with derision for a so-called "lifestyle" specialty--plus radiologists can often unfairly become scapegoats for poor outcomes.

    You'll have to work with a wider variety of physicians than any other specialty in medicine. The only people-related thing about rads is that you don't have clinic and you don't have to round on patients.
  5. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I never meant that rads don't work with other people. What I meant was relative to some other specialties, radiologists do their work more independently. I'm not sure how wanting a specialty that allows a more independent (the key word would be "more") would be thought as not having to " work with other people".
  6. PeepshowJohnny

    PeepshowJohnny

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,963
    Location:
    Earth
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hmm, how you can maximize your chances of getting into radiology?

    Do well in medical school. Do really well. Shoot for high class rank, AOA, highest Step 1 you can, etc. Hell, act like you're trying to get into dermatology or plastic surgery (because you never know if you might change your mind...). Because if all else fails, you can use your numbers like a sledgehammer to get interviews.

    Do well in anatomy. That doesn't mean "I didn't honor anatomy! That means I can't be a radiologist!" . But it looks kinda shady if you talk in your personal statement how you love anatomy and you had to retake. Same goes for pathology as well, come to think of it.

    Realize some people will have a stigma if they think you want to radiology day one. They'll think you're a sun fearing vampire who hates patients and only cares about easy hours and easy money. Of course most of these people want to be trauma surgeons because they thought it was cool on TV but I digress. Anyway, you can definitely share your interest but don't be fanatical. This is definitely true in third year rotations by the way. I've seen a student SHUNNED by residents/attendings on different services because he said he was going to be a radiologist.

    Get to know your radiology department. Bonus points if they have a residency there and you can meet the program director. Don't be a nuisance, but let them get used to your face and solicit their advice. This can help you get in on research projects and help with your LORs.
  7. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    LBC
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Maybe Hans could chime in, but I would not consider rads an "independent" field. You might be able to read your assigned cases without talking to your fellow radiologists but you're beholden to other docs referring patients to you (your patient base is not your own) and you're also subject to constant nitpicking on the part of everybody and anybody that wants a scan...and we all want it read right now, regardless of how many other people have slammed you with late night CT's or whatever.

    Compare that situation to that of a surgeon, who can see a patient for a specific problem, decide on whether or not to operate and which operation to do, independent of any considerations other than the medical appropriateness of a particular case.

    I'm a big fan of radiologists and I decry all the bull**** they have to deal with, but if "independence" and free-standing autonomy are something you want in your practice I don't know if that thinking is particularly applicable to rads.
  8. peduncle

    peduncle Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    "* I'm a very visual person. I've always liked photography and digital image manipulation **

    Don't ever say this in an interview... it's kind of a dry answer that everyone gives. I think most people are visual people.. who doesn't like pictures? that's not a good reason to go into radiology.
  9. hans19

    hans19 I'm back... Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    929
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Agree with Dre. You are always obliged to read your studies in a way that is clinically useful. IE if a scan is ordered by an oncologist, you tell them about lymph node groups and which organs and vessels appear invaded to help them with staging, or surgical planning. If you read independently of your referrer, and dictate only what you think might be important, your dictation is useless, and you haven't added anything to what the clinician already knows. You have to develop a relationship with your referrer. Sometimes the referrer can give you a clue from the history that can help you both nail an uncommon diagnosis. This relationship is a two way street.

    Being a radiologist does not automatically make you "the man". Within a group of radiologists, there few people who are considered 'gurus'. This designation is earned with experience and trust built with referring clinicians.

    While in the reading room you will constantly be disrupted for your opinion on an outside study a clinician may want to review an exam with you (this means they value your opinion). OTOH, there are some rads whose dictations are outright disregarded-- when the clinician enters the room, they may pretend never to have seen said radiologist and go straight to 'the man' for an opinion, regardless of who actually dictated the film.

    Being a radiologist is not like being in solitary confinement. You still have interactions with other people-- those people are other physicians. Remember you have to keep your referrers happy. That means even when you are getting slammed with studies and someone asks for a BS study from the ER you can't just say NO. In private practice, if you piss off a referrer, he/she may be inclined to take his whole patient base to another imaging center.

    OP, its still too early to be dead set on a single specialty (even if its radiology ;)). Keep an open mind explore other areas, do a little homework but don't develop a one track mind. Chill, enjoy the time before medical school, you're in for a loooooong ride. Its good to show interest, don't be gunning for radiology too hard, too early. It'll turn radiologists off to you, its even a little creepy.
  10. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    It's interesting that when someone expressing a high level of interest in a specialty like FM or PMR never gets questioned about the sincerity or the level of enthusiasm for them while expressing a similar level of interest and enthusiasm for radiology results in a very different response. You appear to be skeptical of why anyone would be interested in your field...other than for money or the lifestyle. I am a bit puzzled by some of the responses.
    I've realized that I am not expressing myself clearly enough for the readers of my posting to understand some of what I was stating. Your responses have been well taken and noted.
    In addition, radiology is not the only specialty I'm interested in as one of you stated. I am not "dead set" on radiology. Perhaps you should read my original posting a little closer since PMR is listed there as well.

    Certain proclivity naturally lends to certain things....ie good fine motor skills/likes to make things - perhaps surgery, likes to have long term relationships with people - perhaps primary care.....I love seeing images on a screen be it photographs or what not. I like to manipulate photos using photoshop and am good at visualizing things in 3D. I can sit in front of a computer screen all day viewing images and analyzing them. Though they are not MRI or CT images, I do not see how there is no connection when I just love the idea of work involving such environment. Now, if that has absolutely no connection with rad, than yes, that is not a good reason as one of you stated. Don't say this in an interview? Wow.

    As I stated, perhaps it's in my wording that is causing you to take on a more extreme view of my stance on radiology ie "Being a radiologist is not like being in solitary confinement.". When did I ever say this?

    I realized the below from posting this thread
    I need to work on my writing skills.
    But, some of you also need to work on reading comprehension.
  11. andexterouss

    andexterouss

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Messages:
    354
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Not sure why took you offense at peduncle and hans19 comments. I'm sure that they were trying to offer you some ideas and guidance and not to put you down. May be we both read their posts differently.
  12. Bubblehead-to-MD

    Bubblehead-to-MD Emergency Blow!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,046
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    You have to realize that you are receiving input from individuals that have a wealth of relevant experience. You posted in here with the hope of obtaining their feedback. You got that, complete with their own interpretation of the information you provided. That interpretation, I am sure, is based on years of experience with other individuals that have expressed a similar interest in radiology, for similar reasons.

    Miscommunication, misunderstanding, or not, the above comments are completely out of line. I understand this is an anonymous forum, but that does not mean the basic courtesy and respect afforded to individuals above you in the medical hierarchy (yes, this does exist - I would get comfortable with that before heading off to medical school) go out the window.

    Directing attendings and residents to work on their reading comprehension is going to get you nowhere.
  13. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    My suggestion to them is to read people's postings carefully especially if they are going to be giving suggestions. That's all. Being in positions to give informed opinions does not give them the right to say what I never said.
  14. cmshopeful

    cmshopeful

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Really?
    Let's take Han's guidance. This is what he said

    Being a radiologist is not like being in solitary confinement. You still have interactions with other people-- those people are other physicians. Remember you have to keep your referrers happy. That means even when you are getting slammed with studies and someone asks for a BS study from the ER you can't just say NO. In private practice, if you piss off a referrer, he/she may be inclined to take his whole patient base to another imaging center.

    OP, its still too early to be dead set on a single specialty (even if its radiology ). Keep an open mind explore other areas, do a little homework but don't develop a one track mind. Chill, enjoy the time before medical school, you're in for a loooooong ride. Its good to show interest, don't be gunning for radiology too hard, too early. It'll turn radiologists off to you, its even a little creepy.

    Solitary confinement? Single specialty? Read my posting and use appropriate words in responses. You do not get offended when people put words in your mouth?

    On the other hand, I did appreciate PeepshowJohnny's input. He gave answers to the questions I posed. His response was informative, non discrediting, constructive did not make me feel like he was on his high horse pointing fingers at me the lowly pre-med. Many others simply misinterpreted or misread what I was saying and started stating how my reasons for my interest in radiology is not good or how I don't understand how radiologist work etc...... That's the reason for my defensiveness.

    It is rude to discredit my reasons for my interest in radiology while I can't question the way you discredit me? I reserve that sort of relationship to real life not here on SDN.
  15. hans19

    hans19 I'm back... Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    929
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Former M1, now PGY-6 Fellow here. Welcome to the club!

    Like I said, its good to be proactive, before you can make an informed decision, why not learn a little about medicine and surgery first. Radiologists and PMnR only exists in context with Internal medicine and surgical patients. You don't work in a vacuum. Without the orthopod operating first on the patient, you wouldn't have a patient. Without the initial sports medicine visit, I wouldn't have the ankle MRI. So before you can understand the value of radiology or PMnR, you should at least understand where the patients are coming from. The first place to start is IM and Surgery. Then once you understand medical and surgical issues, you can explore more subspecialty fields.

    True, but look at many different fields. Rads and maybe PMnR, thats a good start, but what about IM or surgery? These two are the biggest specialties in medicine. Do you know anything about them at all? Give everything a fair shake before you narrow it down.

    Medicine should not be about us vs them. You don't operate in a vacuum. Radiologists and surgeons need each other. You work as a team to take care of patients.

    Why does a radiologist even generate a report? Because the CLINICIAN has a question or problem about his patient. The radiologist works WITH the clinician to help the patient. Without a patient, without a referral from a clinician, I don't have a job.

    Unless you are a solo FP in a small town, you will rarely be 'the guy'- whether you mean as self-sufficient practioner or expert practitioner.

    Medicine is a team effort. Radiology is a team effort.
    Ok, forget about the referring physicians for a second. Even within radiology, we wouldn't have images without a good tech to take them. Our pacs would crash daily. Without the PACS administrator, we'd be hosed. Without nurses giving sedation for procedures or starting IVs, we couldn't perform high quality exams in an efficient manner.

    Ok forget all of the non radiologists for a second. Even as radiologists, no one is a jack of all trades. We need to talk to other radiologists to get opinions about organ systems we are less versed in. Hell, one neuroradiologist may consult another to get an opinion regarding a tough neuro case.


    You will see from my previous posts that I believe radiology has much more to offer than money, and I have stated many times that the lifestyle is no longer an incentive. FPs and PM and Rs don't have to be skeptical about applicants because income is less likely to be a significant motivating factor than a sincere interest in the profession. In radiology the income can be very good. Why am I skeptical? because I have worked along side those that have chosen radiology strictly for the money without regard to the field itself. Its annoying to have to clean up after sloppy work and take up the slack of the lazy, not to mention patient care suffers.

    Your welcome,
    :rolleyes:

    But if that was thanks, I'd hate to see "no thanks"!!! BTW I love how you stepped up your vocabulary and diction in your reply. You don't have to be so defensive. You asked for an opinion, did you not?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  16. AK_MD2BE

    AK_MD2BE New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Saint Louis
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hans, thank you for taking time out of your life/schedule to share your knowledge on this message board. As an MS3 that is very interested in Radiology (I have electives scheduled for later this year :D), it is extremely valuable to get sound advice from a PGY-4. Thanks.
  17. AK_MD2BE

    AK_MD2BE New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    282
    Location:
    Saint Louis
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Sorry Hans...PGY-6. :oops:
  18. Tiltnpse

    Tiltnpse

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Washington
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I find MS3 is a good way to bring some of these students back down to Earth.
  19. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Messages:
    723
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    douchebag, he's trying to give you advice. if it doesn't apply to you or what you said, fine. Be grateful that someone with actual knowledge is trying to help you out. We don't know who you are, so for you to take offense is pretty ridiculous. I trust you'll have problems with your take-offense attitude pretty quickly in medical school and beyond. You'll need a bit thicker skin to survive this ride. Thanks Hans for the advice...
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  20. peduncle

    peduncle Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Hey .. so didn't mean to sound condescending. I was mainly just trying to imply that there is more to a field than simple things like "being a visual person". Frank Netter was a visual person and I believe he was a surgeon.

    It is important not to get too sensitive in these forums. I would like to echo what the others have said above about first getting a broad interest in medicine or surgery and then fine tuning it. It is true, that you very well can have an interest in something before you start, but it's important to practice some introspection and figure out why you first chose certain fields. Radiology and PMR seem like vastly different fields however not so much when you mentally-dissect them. Both have the ability to afford you a good lifestyle and both can have high salaries (Rads more than PMR.. although you could do an anesthesia-Pain fellowship as a PMR doc and make a great salary). I know you listed certain other reasons for your interests in your original post but what are the couple forces that are truly driving your interest? If you genuinely really like radiology, then go for it.

    Now I know you were just mainly asking for help/advice and didn't like a lot of responses you were getting, but try to extrapolate any information that you would find would be helpful without getting worked up by the perceived negativity (stay calm under tension... like a true radiologist).

    I have met many premeds that have expressed a similar interest in radiology at the ripe young age of "undergraduate-college" and they have all listed the reasons that you have above, but when you really analyze what drives them... it's the money and potential relaxation. Number one lesson in life, do not chase money. You will make enough money in something you are passionate about (most of the time). I'm making general statements here and am not trying to single you out.

    If you want to go into radiology, then Do well in Medical school, Do amazing on the Step 1 boards, Have some research under your belt, and schmoooze like there is no tomorrow with your radiology department at your school,.. and don't forget to have a life on the side. :smuggrin:
  21. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    LBC
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Hans is right about it being weird when young med students profess an undying love or even a deep-seated interest in certain fields (especially those thought to have good lifestyle/financial parameters, but not necessarily). When a premed, M1, or M2 (who have little clinical exposure--and shadowing your uncle or even many uncles for hours and hours and hours doesn't mean anything to me, actual work is different) says that he/she has "always wanted to be a plastic surgeon" (or even expresses a more than cursory interest in plastics) I have to take it with a grain of salt--because most med students have no idea what plastic surgery really is, or what I do an a daily basis. I think this viewpoint translates to rads and other esoteric fields, because a lot of medical education isn't really geared towards esoteric specialties.

    So if you say that you're really gung-ho about plastic surgery, I'm thinking "Uh-huh, sure. You don't have any clue what my job is like, so how can you know that it's what you want to spend your life doing?" It makes me suspicious that there's an ulterior motive (i.e. finances or lifestyle). That might be completely false, but one of the things about medicine is that people in competitive fields don't automatically accept you because you say you love their field and really want to go into it; you've got to deal with people questioning you, pay your dues, and keep up your interest over a long period of time before your elders will really buy it.

    You'd get the same type of replies if you posted threads about how you're super well-suited to derm, neurosurgery, ortho, CT surgery, general surgery, ENT, trauma surgery, or anything else that's either tough to get into or tough to practice (or both).

    Showing interest is good, but if you're too hardcore too early it's off-putting. We just know that there are many negative things about our jobs that med students/premeds can't possibly appreciate and it's possible (even likely) that you'll change your mind. So we're skeptical until you prove us wrong.
  22. osli

    osli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,279
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Any tips then on how an M3 or M4 should approach a program about doing a rads elective? Following your advice above, starting a phone call with "I've been really interested in radiology for three years, was president of our school interest group, and think your program is the bomb... and would love to do an elective with you guys" might not fly so far? I'm guessing that having any kind of connection in/with the program would help, but barring that... for those of you who have already been through the process, what did you find was the most effective strategy for getting an elective lined up?
  23. radslooking

    radslooking

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Messages:
    784
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    To me that sounds perfectly appropriate. Its quite different for an M3 who has rotated through many specialties and been the president of your school interest group. This shows more of an informed, committed interest over time. I think a program would be happy to set something up for you if you asked them that.
  24. Amxcvbcv

    Amxcvbcv Radiologist

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2003
    Messages:
    1,289
    Location:
    Final approach
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Physician SDN 7+ Year Member
    I'm on a radiology away rotation right now, and I really don't think there's anywhere near the kind of under-the-radar work needed that you imply. Any program that accepts visiting medical students in an established course can be found here: http://www.aamc.org/students/medstudents/electives/start.htm

    If you want to rotate at another medical school, look there. If you'd like to do something at a private institution that has a residency or just a private hospital, you'll have to contact your student affairs office about what forms and procedures you should follow for setting up an off-campus elective.

    With that said, there's a pilot program going on now with 10 medical schools using a unified application service called the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS). It is an incredibly streamlined and easy-to-use program that should be going nationwide next year or maybe later. I wish the schools I was interested in were using it. :p

    Finally, you usually can't do an away rotation as a traditional 3rd year student simply because most programs want you to have already completed the core clerkships - surgery, medicine, ob/gyn, pediatrics, and psychiatry - or be a senior medical student.
  25. Trooth

    Trooth :heart:rads

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    61
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 5+ Year Member

    Frankly I do not post often anymore – but ...
    I had to reply to this..

    Your tone is very strange… It appears that you are angry that they are questioning and nitpicking your personal mission/statement -- after you have asked for advice. +pity+

    These people have gone down your path and are only telling you and picking at you as deans/PDs will in 3 years. I am in the application process right now and I feel that most of the things they are picking at you for are things I am going to have to be very careful to avoid this fall. And YES they (the world basically!) will pick on you harder for WHY you want to do radiology than FAMMed/OBGYN/ hell basically all other specialties – even derm applicants have more sincere sounding reasons in comparison. So it isn’t really this group that is giving you a hard time – face it everyone will.


    Cliff notes of my post: Check yourself homie and relax you have time.
  26. osli

    osli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,279
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Thanks for the advice. Setting up electives is still something of an unknown for me (and most of my class)... the information you provided above will help get me pointed in the right direction.

    I was unaware that programs required senior status or core rotations completed. I'll have one elective near the end of my third year, and I believe I'll have completed all core rotations except for psych by that point. I suppose I could do the rotation at my home/core site, but since they don't offer a radiology residency I thought it would make sense to try and use that time to visit another program if possible. Perhaps there's also some sense in getting a little more exposure to radiology before venturing out on what are essentially pre-interviews? :cool:

Share This Page


About the ads