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Radiology is more of an independent rotation where you're allowed to choose what you do, how much of it, and when. However, don't make the mistake of treating this as a "vacation rotation" like many people do (I cannot stress this enough). If you want to go into radiology you will have to work hard and prove that you're really interested in the field. How do you do that? By reading a bit about radiology and asking questions throughout. It is even easier if you're in interventional radiology, which involves procedures. In that case just treat it like surgery: stay late, work hard, and show interest in the techniques and methods used to carry out the procedure.

 

On my first day in radiology I was asked what I wanted to do. I said I'd like to see everything. The reason being that I would, but also not to make the mistake of saying interventional radiology, which is what everyone else says. Don't forget that interventional is only a small part of radiology and you want to showcase your knowledge and interest in all fields of radiology.

 

I began in X ray and sat with the attending and a resident. They usually go over the films and explain what they are seeing. You usually sit and listen. If you have questions then of course you should ask. It is best if you can read before hand about plain films as this will allow you to ask intelligent questions. Just for general knowledge, radiologists are very pleasant people so they do not usually pimp, but its always good to be able to answer questions.

 

After X ray I moved to the CT and ultrasound units. Again I sat with the attending and went over studies with him/her and the resident. You'll find that as you spend more time there you will learn more and start to identify the various anatomic structures better. Its not necessary to be an expert before you begin, but again if you read and practice looking at CT's beforehand this will be an excellent chance to show off. An attending will be very impressed if you throw out the DD for an intramedullary spinal lesion off hand or identify a lesion by specific radiological characteristics etc.

 

Finally, I spent a day at MRI. There they tried to teach me the various scans and what each one of them is used for. To be completely honest, you should not worry about this too much, reading MRIs can get complicated so they don't expect you to know too much. If you do know, however, you will be a true star and they will be very impressed.

 

The best part of my rotation were two weeks at the interventional radiology unit. This is your time to shine as here you can scrub into procedures, stay late, show your abilities and knowledge in the procedure room, and make an overall good impression. Since I am fascinated with this field I read journal articles from JVIR, asked about everything and anything related to IR, and discussed new developments in the field with my attendings. I even sketched some new ideas for IR devices with one of them. By the time I finished my rotation they had no doubt as to my abilities and true interest in the field, which is exactly what you want to achieve.

 

That's it with regards to radiology, it's a pretty enjoyable rotation but you need to actively show what you know and put in the effort to learn new things. If you take it lightly they will immediately notice and throw you into the "do not interview" pile.

Radiology

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