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Is radiology *hard* ?

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Foot Fetish

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Attendings, what does your day to day job as a radiologist feel like in terms of overall difficulty? Do you feel "comfy" as you do your job? After completing 5-6 years of specialized radiology training, do you feel as though you can bang through films on "autopilot" mode, or do you still have some days that feel like a struggle?

T. Incoming MS1 interested in radiology.
 

colbgw02

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Most professionals will reach a point of sufficient experience where heuristic* thinking takes over. Radiology is no different. So, yes, I suppose we all become comfortable in the sense that you're asking. That is, I don't go to work each day struggling to find the words to describe something, outline an appropriate differential, or park a needle where I want it. I still feel myself get a little on edge leading up to a call, but it's a healthy nervousness, I think, in that it let's me know I still care and gives me a heightened awareness (at least early on in my shift).

That isn't to say radiology isn't challenging. Apart from the breadth of knowledge required, radiology is challenging because the next I-don't-know-WTH-that-is case is always right around the corner. And we never know when that study is going to pop up amid the stack of otherwise routine, garden variety exams. The job requires one to be able to quickly and adroitly switch from heuristic to analytical thinking, lest the single lung cancer case go unnoticed in the middle of the 50 other normal chest radiographs.

*I'm using heuristic here to mean an intuitive judgment.
 
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shark2000

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Harder than what most medical students and general population think.

You can never do radiology in "autopilot" mode. It needs concentration and attention.

There are certain days that it feels like a struggle. For some reasons, some days are full of difficult studies and suboptimal studies. And when it rains it pours.

Having said that, overall the job is very satisfactory and challenge is not bad if it is not constant.

If someone says that radiology is completely without challenge and stress, it is usually because they don't care and not because they are very skillful.
 
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scootad.

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After 5 years of PP experience here is my opinion. The actual day to day task of interpreting cases isn't difficult. I see routine things over and over and over. It's the sheer volume of # cases and speed that many of us are expected to read at, that can be the challenging and grueling part.
 
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