How to score a Radiology residency

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by Keroberos, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Keroberos

    Keroberos Member

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    Although I am just a entering MS1 this fall, and despite what everyone tells me about how my specialty preferences will change in the next few years, I still believe that I am interested in pursuing Diag. Radiology. What can I do, as a MS1, to improve my chances of getting into a good Radiology residency? (besides the good grades, good USMLE, good LOR) Should I get a clinical faculty mentor in Radiology? Did people who are in radiology residencies find that research in their basic sciences years important to landing their residency? Aite. Any advice, and other ppls experiences would be appreciated. :D
     
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  3. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor

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    Firstly, I have heard that a "pal" in Diag-Rads is very helpful.

    Also, studying hard to secure a strong (top 10%) position in the class is very helpful.

    Best of luck, Frank
     
  4. xraydoc

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    I think being an inside person will help as well as having a mentor at the program of your choice.

    Then be as assertive/aggressive as possible during your rotations. Stay late, ask thousands of questions, make yourself available to research topics and generally do all you can to make all the other medical students look like ingrate goof offs. Not in a cut throat way, but with the way radiology is now it pays to be noticed.

    I am sure that there are many excellent radiologists at UCLA that would like to help you polish yourself for the process.

    regards and best of luck.
     
  5. Keroberos

    Keroberos Member

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    Er, thanks for the advice, frank :rolleyes: I'll be sure to go after the chief rad resident. :p

    xraydoc - what do you mean by, "inside person?" as in what way? thanx.

    Anyone else that's currently a radiology resident with any more advice?
     
  6. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member

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    An inside person is an attending or resident from the radiology program you're applying to. A mentor can be any radiologist that is helpful, can advise you along the way (as well as get a good letter from). Xraydoc is an attending at Michigan State, but I'm not sure on who it is exactly (my guess would be his first name start with "K"). All I can say is that I got some excellent advice from one of the attendings from Michigan State and I doubt I'd be in a residency program now if it wasn't for his help.

    Otherwise, do the best you can on your rotations, get high board scores, but I think most importantly, just be a good person to work with. Remember, you're going to be selected based not only on knowledge but on how well you'll get along with the radiology techs, other radiologists and other physicians. You're going to be the doctor's doctor so you need good communication skills and you need a vast knowledge base.

    Good luck.
     
  7. xraydoc

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    Thanks Jim, I agree.

    In referring to an "inside" person; this is as Jim stated a resident or attending that knows you personally.

    It is amazing to me now that I am on the other side how much all the faces and excellent scores etc just blend in together over the weeks of the process.
     
  8. Keroberos

    Keroberos Member

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    Thanks, Jim & xraydoc......

    On, that note, are there a lot of girls in your residency progs? Or are girls a relative minority? Anyhoo, just wondering if I would be the only girl in an all male world if I went into Radiology. :laugh:

    Which Radiology residency programs are ranked among the best? Also, which ones are the easiest to get into?

    I have a distant cousin who just started his Radiology residency. He was talking about doing some "Prelim" for a year....what is this exactly and how does one go about obtaining one? Isn't radiology residency a 5 year all-inclusive thing? And, for a first year Rad resident, he seems to have a lot of free time. I had always thought residency was one of the worst times in your medical training - on call, no personal time, etc. What's the deal? Is my cousin's experience just the exception or are your residency schedules like that?

    Aite. Thanks again in advance for your advice and help. :clap:
     
  9. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member

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    There's 2 women in my year out of 7 and it seems like we have about 2 women per year (haven't counted every class). On my interviews, I only saw maybe 2-3 women so I was very pleased that my program had a couple. You're right, for whatever reason, women just don't seem to be as interested in radiology.

    There's no absolute ranking for the best places. Figure out where in the country you'd like to live, talk to some radiologists at your school, get a list of at least 30 places to apply to and check them out on the interview trail. Some places are better for the research minded, some better for the clinically minded person. So, just like the answer to the best medical schools, it depends on you and how you fit in. The most important thing is to see as much as you can and go to a program with a high board pass rate that you enjoy going to everyday.

    As for residency, radiology is a 4 year residency but it required a 1 year transitional, prelim med or prelim surgery year before you enter radiology. Some programs provide you with that first transitional/prelim year, and others only provide you with the radiology years where you'd have to find your own prelim/transitional year (not a problem at all).

    For residency, at least here, our radiology residents aren't on call that much but it all depends on the program. About once a week is the most demanding schedule and you always go home after your shift in the morning. As a radiologist you don't get to sleep at all on call and staring at a screen for 12 hours is exhausting. That's one of the reasons I chose radiology, for the work hours, although you will still work 50-60 hours a week as a resident.

    I'm currently in my transitional year and I have 4 months where I'm on call every 4th day. The other 8 months I have no call and usually get weekends off. So far I haven't had a call month and I'm working about 50-55 hours a week, but will work harder during those call months. To be honest, my 3rd year of medical school was more demanding to my time than residency, but then again, I'm not in a surgical residency program. Typically the prelim medicine years have more call and the prelim surgery years even more call with transitional year being the lightest in terms of call. I also have 6 electives and I guess I could have elected to take say trauma surgery, but I've been through that pain in medical school, no need to hurt myself. Needless to say, all my electives have no call.

    I'm technically not, nor is your friend a first radiology resident yet, but because I'm doing all five years at one hospital (at my program, matching into radiology meant you automatically got the transitional year) I still go to some of the radiology conferences, get all the radiology journals, am a member of RSNA and have access to the central PACS (the medicine residents do not), so I'm a pseudo-radiology resident right now (I get some perks).

    For all the horror stories about call, they usually apply to those surgical residencies, OB/GYN and to a lesser extent the medicine residents where they have many more call months than I currently have. I'm also at a very good hospital where even the general surgery residents rarely put in over 80 hours per week. Again, depends on where you do your residency at. There's certainly many places that work you much harder.
     

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