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Be the Best Radiology Resident: 6 Tips for Medical Success

Discussion in 'USMLE' started by Eric Brown, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. Eric Brown

    Eric Brown Young Member

    Jun 30, 2018
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    Practicing medicine in:
    United States

    Medical science students are required to consistently sharpen their skills and hone their capabilities through constant training and ongoing programs and aspiring radiologists are no exception. They need to interpret imaging tests and undergo rotations and clerkships in radiology before leaving medical school. Any gaps in knowledge during the medical school can then reflect in practice and adversely impact the physician’s ability to provide high-quality patient care. But all of this can be easily changed by building a stronger foundation at the very start.

    Below are 6 very specific recommendations to help radiologists elevate their career status:
    1. Learn to Read Radiographs Accurately
      The ability to interpret abdominal and chest radiographs accurately is a prerequisite for every practicing physician and resident. Studies have shown that many anesthesiologists, primary care physicians, and emergency medicine physicians lack confidence in interpreting images and are frequently inaccurate in their diagnosis. Since the specialty of radiology is very different from other surgical specialties and medical disciplines, many concepts are new to the resident who can feel overwhelmed by unusual cases. This is why it is important to know how radiographs are interpreted.

    2. Get Acquainted with Imaging Tests for All Types of Problems
      Hospitals and clinics perform countless tests every single day including MRI tests, CT scans, and ultrasound and most of the times, the test performed is not the most appropriate option to identify the root cause of the problem. The result is a series of unnecessary tests and unwanted expenses. This is why residents must take a step back and analyze if the recommended test is the most appropriate alternative for the medical condition at hand. The American College of Radiology has developed an appropriateness criterion for tests based on evidence and these guidelines are updated annually. This is an excellent resource for residents and they should refer to these guidelines regularly even beyond their radiology rotation.

    3. Closely Observe the Interactions Between Radiologists and Physicians
      Communication plays a crucial role in delivering high-quality patient care. While residents dedicate most part of their time to reading studies it is equally important to observe the written communication and verbal interactions taking place between referring physicians and radiologists. If your attending receives a call and notifies the provider about decisive findings, you can consult the attending and inquire about the most suitable imaging test to diagnose a difficult medical condition. Observing the perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors of both the professionals will make it easy to incorporate the accurate exchange of information into your own practice and facilitate the best selection of tests.

    4. Relate Your Reading to Your Cases
      Medical students usually read several hours a day but if this information does not find practical application, it is all lost very soon. The best way to remember what you have learned is to ensure that the reading relates to your ongoing cases. If the reading is relevant to all the cases that are encountered recently or on the very same day it results in fruitful retention. Start by listing all the new case diagnoses along with important topics and try to finish the entire list the very same day. Soon you will see the list grow shorter as you proceed further in residency.

    5. Create Your Own Teaching File
      Residents encounter many good teaching cases and every case presents several opportunities to learn so make sure you save important images from crucial cases and also imprint them in your brain. Every time you come across an interesting case, add it to your teaching file and test your peers on these cases. Collecting cases will not only enhance your credibility but also result in people providing you with more cases. Additionally, an exhaustive archive of cases will definitely come in handy at a future date.

    6. Share Your Cases with Your Colleagues
      When you cannot explain a specific topic, it is because you haven’t understood it completely. Developing a habit of teaching colleagues about something you have learned will reinforce your own learning. Observe the presentation style of your peers and learn from their mistakes. Preparing cases and showing them to others will not only increase your exposure but also encourage your peers to reciprocate with their own crucial findings, enabling you to learn from their successes. Case sharing will make your learning enjoyable, augment your presentation skills, expand your knowledge base and improve group dynamics.

    The modern radiologist is expected to accurately interpret a lot more radiographs when compared to the tests performed a decade ago and this places a much bigger burden on today’s residents. So, make sure you don’t decrease your efficiency because the more efficient you are, the higher the chances of success.

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