snowinter

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Hi Everyone,

I started thinking about radiology back on my FP rotation-- I was very burned out with the clinics where nothing really ever got done.

My question is: do you think to be a radiologist you have to really hate patient contact and be turned off by it? I really like working with patients. I like talking to them, and taking care of them.

But what's appealing to me about radiology is that when you are through for the day YOU ARE THROUGH. no one calling you at home -- no worries before you put your head on the pillow .. I really want that seperation between work and life. Will radiology really give me that seperation -- or am I just dreaming? And lastly, are there other ppl who have gone into radiology-- who really like patient contact-- just wanted to have a life more? Who are happy?

I'm worried i'm looking into radiology for the "wrong reasons" .. ??

thanks for ur advice.
 

Goodguy

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I am totally with you! I'm trying to decide between radiology and cardiology,
the latter having much more patient contact than the former. I like patient contact and am not attracted to interventional stuff, just want a 8-5 (or so) job and to be able to go home and actually spend time with my wife and kids when I'm done, without a fear that the pager will go off at any moment. I don't mind working hard when I'm at work and then chillin at home.
I think radiology is great because one's read is so vital to the patient's diagnosis and treatment, and I love the fact that each image presents a new challenge. You can do imaging in Cards as well, but the variability isn't going to be as great, however you're going to talk to the patient about what you saw and how to proceed. I have heard of a radiologist who would bring in patients and/or their families into the reading room and read the films together with them. That seems to me like a great idea.

Given your arguments, you may want to consider ER. I did the rotation but didn't feel like staying up all night when I'm 53 would be a good idea, even though once your shift's up, you're done.


On another note, I'm surprised by all the talk about money in this forum!!! Relatively speaking if you wanted money your in the wrong field! It's not too late to switch to I-banking!!! A friend of mine is making $250,000 4 year out of college, without anything but a BA.
 

banner

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I personally, went into Radiology to avoid patients. For me, nothing is less gratifying then interacting with them. I like working with other people, but not patients.

I don't like playing daddy and trying to explain complicated medical stuff to somebody on a fourth grade level to people who will never grasp the concept anyway. Additionally, I don't like working with the "educated people" who think that because they read the NY Times, they are in expert in all things including medicine.

When a patient is telling me about their minor aches and pains, my mind wanders and I think of how much money I could be making at that moment doing something else like reading films or even laying bricks.

That being said, I know that some people truly miss the doctor-patient relationship when it's gone. And you could find more patient oriented subspecialties in radiology such as interventional.

Also, if you're looking for a 9AM-5PM, forget Cardiology. I think they have the worst hours. They do make a lot of $$, though.

Sorry, if this came out like a rant. I think that I'm revolting from all that medical school primary care propaganda.
 

Docxter

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I love direct patient care, but still chose radiology. I did not like the social worker aspects of direct patient care; the actual medicine part is quite fine and every now and then I miss it a little. That said, I couldn't have been more happy with my choice. I am even much happier now than the time I chose to apply and matched in radiology. Things like getting called in the middle of the night, continuity of care, complex medical problems, ICU care, etc. are all OK as far as I'm concerned. But the pressure to see patients in less than 15 minutes even if they need more time and attention, noncompliance, drug-seeking attitudes, people who don't want to take any responsibility for their own health, managed care, etc. were the main turn-offs. Talking to many of my colleagues, most of them feel the same. On the other hand there are people in radiology who chose it for having lack of patient care.
 

doc05

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snowinter said:
Hi Everyone,

I started thinking about radiology back on my FP rotation-- I was very burned out with the clinics where nothing really ever got done.

My question is: do you think to be a radiologist you have to really hate patient contact and be turned off by it? I really like working with patients. I like talking to them, and taking care of them.

But what's appealing to me about radiology is that when you are through for the day YOU ARE THROUGH. no one calling you at home -- no worries before you put your head on the pillow .. I really want that seperation between work and life. Will radiology really give me that seperation -- or am I just dreaming? And lastly, are there other ppl who have gone into radiology-- who really like patient contact-- just wanted to have a life more? Who are happy?

I'm worried i'm looking into radiology for the "wrong reasons" .. ??

thanks for ur advice.

what many people don't realize is that each person would probably be happy in a number of fields. you should avoid internal medicine/peds/FP -- anything that is clinic-heavy, as it is clear you don't enjoy much of that.

also avoid surgery/ob-gyn/surgical subs -- you will need to worry about your patients when you're at home, call can be rough and unpredictable, though that will of course vary with how you tailor your practice.

based on your post, I suggest you think about anesthesia: no clinic, brief patient interactions, things are definitely happening. but you don't have to worry about them at home. you will have to take call, but so does rads.

you might also think about EM - no call, good hours. but it is usually nothing more than outpatient clinic about 80% of the time. pathology offers many of the same benefits of radiology (no patients, minimal call), but will be very boring if you're not into that stuff.

if you really like talking to patients/taking care of them, you may not enjoy rads. then again, it might not be that important to you after all. try to figure out how important that aspect is for you. a very difficult task, as medical students are rarely exposed to the real-world (private practice) version of any specialty.

good luck.
 

Whisker Barrel Cortex

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Docxter said:
I love direct patient care, but still chose radiology. I did not like the social worker aspects of direct patient care; the actual medicine part is quite fine and every now and then I miss it a little. That said, I couldn't have been more happy with my choice. I am even much happier now than the time I chose to apply and matched in radiology. Things like getting called in the middle of the night, continuity of care, complex medical problems, ICU care, etc. are all OK as far as I'm concerned. But the pressure to see patients in less than 15 minutes even if they need more time and attention, noncompliance, drug-seeking attitudes, people who don't want to take any responsibility for their own health, managed care, etc. were the main turn-offs. Talking to many of my colleagues, most of them feel the same. On the other hand there are people in radiology who chose it for having lack of patient care.
This post pretty much sums up my view of patient care. I occasionally miss it, but not that much. I do know of a couple of rads residents that miss patient care more than I do. They don't completely regret their decision, but wish have expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of continuity of care and dealing with patients. One of them plans on doing interventional radiology and will thus get a good deal of patient interaction without a lot of the less satisfying aspects.
 

jake2

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How much patient contact do interventional radiologists and neuro-interventional radiologists have with their patients? Are they responsible for consulting on patients, consenting patients, managing patients post-op, or any long term follow up? I've seen a couple of anyeurism coilings and thought it was incredibly cool and would be a great field, but forgot to ask what else they do. :)
 

hans19

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jake2 said:
How much patient contact do interventional radiologists and neuro-interventional radiologists have with their patients? Are they responsible for consulting on patients, consenting patients, managing patients post-op, or any long term follow up? I've seen a couple of anyeurism coilings and thought it was incredibly cool and would be a great field, but forgot to ask what else they do. :)
Question asked, question answered.

Yes to all the above. Interventionalists are now working up patients in clinics, managing them as inpatients, and seeing them for follow-up visits (1 or 2) in clinic. The days of doing the procedure and dumping them back to the primary team (ala ortho) are over.

[I'm just kidding about Ortho- they still see their patients for work-up and see them in clinic for follow-up.]
 

Al Pacino

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hans19 said:
Question asked, question answered.

Yes to all the above. Interventionalists are now working up patients in clinics, managing them as inpatients, and seeing them for follow-up visits (1 or 2) in clinic. The days of doing the procedure and dumping them back to the primary team (ala ortho) are over.
Yup, in the past, IR peeps were technicians -- they'd do the procedure and the pt would go back to their referring doc. These days, at the more enlightened and progressive places, IR docs are actively recruiting patients, doing the procedure, and then taking care of any complications afterwards. In quite a few places, IR has admitting priviledges and rounds on patients in the hospital.