Unty

New Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2005
304
88
271
Status
Pathologist here. Pathology and radiology both have little to no patient contact. Would like to know if any of you considered Pathology and if so, why did you consider Radiology over Pathology?

Numbers of US grads applying to Pathology have been decreasing over the past years and would like to get direct feedback from those that may have actually considered both but chose radiology instead.

Be brutally honest in why you may have chose Radiology over Pathology. Or why you didn't consider Pathology at all in the first place.

I understand there are med school graduates who still want to see patients and obviously you can't ask them for input as to why they didn't choose Pathology. But those who apply to either Rads or Path are ok with not seeing patients so I wanted to target this particular group (Rads folk) as to why they didn't choose Pathology as a profession?

Thanks for any input and be brutally honest !
 

GoPelicans

5+ Year Member
May 13, 2013
583
265
131
Status
I think the main thing is underexposure to path. My school had a third year radiology rotation. On other rotations (medicine, surg, etc) you have come contact with radiology. I don't think I had any chance to interact with a pathologist as a med student until my fourth year. In addition you see all these posts on the internet about how much the path job market sucks. Those were the main things for me about why I never considred path. i bet once path becomes digitized and you are looking at tissues on monitors instead of microscopes it will be way more popular.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Unty
Jan 22, 2019
230
203
41
Status
Resident [Any Field]
People don't want to have a hard time getting a job after residency and heck! they want to make 500k/yr...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Unty

Kuratz

7+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2011
55
232
181
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I really liked my pathology rotation. Through the internet and the fellows I spoke with it seemed like the job market issues were real (not that rads doesn't have its own problems) and the training length has become de facto 6 years for both. I found pathology to be more interesting but the actual day to day workflow of rads was my preference. It seemed like unless we were doing frozen sections very little contact with consultants occurred in path while during my rads rotation it seemed like consultants either came to the reading room or called quite frequently. I liked the technology aspect of rads. The personalities in rads clicked better. Lastly the opportunity to maintain some patient contact with procedures, fluoro and mammo were appealing to me. I like working with patients in doses, just not clinic and rounding. Money is only a part of what drives med student interest but when you constantly hear about how poor the job market is for path (true or not) it really weeds out people who might consider it. FWIW we had quite a few go into path from my US MD school. They all had their pick of very prestigious residency programs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Unty
Aug 10, 2018
133
82
31
Status
Medical Student
I did a few path rotations and was like 90% on the path train. But ultimately decided that I want to choose my geographic location and make more than 200k. There was too much negativity around path that i didn't like.
 
Oct 6, 2018
7
8
11
Your job market is simply terrible. I wasn’t under the impression this would be news.
 
Jun 3, 2017
121
139
41
Honestly? Dealing with dead bodies and organ specimens freaks me out. The smell in a path department is disgusting. I also have a strong astigmatism which made microscopes hard to use.
 

Purple&Gold

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 8, 2006
7
2
1
Status
Attending Physician
Med school buddies I know who went into path did so to pursue research at big name institutions - they were smart, got the foundational basics of path training in residency, but moved on to focus on applying that knowledge in various research endeavors while keeping a 20% clinical experience.

Radiology is almost the inverse of this: most people do it for the clinical work/ less opportunities for research.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jo_da

Dro133

5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2013
252
235
181
Status
Medical Student
For the folks who cite microscope issues as their main reason for not considering pathology further -- do you think your decision tree may have gone differently if pathologists looked at digital slides on the computer rather than looking down a microscope?
 

maxxor

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2009
838
598
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
For the folks who cite microscope issues as their main reason for not considering pathology further -- do you think your decision tree may have gone differently if pathologists looked at digital slides on the computer rather than looking down a microscope?
Possibly but digitization will shred their job market even more.

They need to cut training spots by at least 50%.
 

tigga2013

5+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2013
37
26
111
Status
For the folks who cite microscope issues as their main reason for not considering pathology further -- do you think your decision tree may have gone differently if pathologists looked at digital slides on the computer rather than looking down a microscope?
It wouldn't have made a difference. Much more interested in macro-anatomy than micro-anatomy, if that makes any sense.
 

808s&heartbreak

2+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2017
26
15
51
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Loved pathology as an idea, found it super intellectually stimulating and have huge respect for the field as the smartest people in medicine IMO are pathologists and radiologists. Considered path but didn't like my rotation and the day to day; autopsies were very depressing and morbid, couldn't stand the smell of specimens, job market was not good. Also looking at microscopes made me dizzy. Also wanted some patient contact.
 
Jun 3, 2017
121
139
41
Yea. The microscope was an annoyance. The dead bodies and smells were enough to make me not even consider it
 

qxrt

5+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2013
216
165
131
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Never considered pathology. I love the acuity of radiology, the on-the-spot decision-making (Does this patient have an active bleed?) that immediately changes patient management. That's also part of why I like IR. Pathology seems too slow-paced for me. As a gamer, I always was more into first person shooters and other action games than I ever was into, say, chess or turn-based games.