Many medical students have limited experience with radiology before their M4 years, and by then they have chosen other specialties. We want you to make an informed decision, selecting the specialty that is the best fit for you and your talents.
- Clinical shadowing
- Research projects (month, summer, and other)
- Medical Student Radiology Interest Group
- Mentorship and career guidance
What is Radiology?
The medical imaging specialty:
- Plain Radiography and Fluoroscopy
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear Medicine
- All types of image guided procedures (biopsies, drainages, vascular interventions)
Who are Radiologists?
We are the medical imaging experts. Radiologists have specialized knowledge in every field of medicine—from normal anatomy to diagnosis, pathophysiology and response to therapy—and how to image and even treat it. We are consultants to all kinds of specialists in daily clinical work and at weekly tumor boards.
Who are our Patients?
Kids and adults, healthy people undergoing screening, trauma victims, surgical patients, cancer patients—you name it! Imaging is central to modern medicine, so we see almost every interesting case in the medical center.
What Skills Are Useful in Radiology?
- Understanding of anatomy and spatial relationships
- Problem solving abilities
- Visual recognition and memory
- Pattern recognition
- Hand-eye coordination
- Oral communication
- Interaction with patients, who may be undergoing stressful procedures
- Interaction with consulting physicians
- Written communication
- The dictated report is the record of our work and must be clear and complete
What Kind of Training Do Radiologists Have?
- One year general internship
- Four years of radiology residency
- Rotations through all of the subspecialties (see below)
- Daily morning and noon teaching conferences
- One or two year fellowship (optional but recommended)
Many radiologists are fellowship trained. Our department offers the following fellowships:
- Abdominal Imaging
- Body MRI
- Breast Imaging
- Cardiothoracic Radiology
- Interventional Radiology
- Musculoskeletal Radiology
- Nuclear Medicine
- Pediatric Radiology
"You have no patient contact"
Subspecialties like Breast Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, GI/GU fluoroscopy, Ultrasound, Pediatric and Interventional Radiology involve daily, direct patient contact; some even run clinics and care for inpatients. Most areas perform some types of procedures. In other areas patient contact is limited. You can tailor your practice to your preference.
"You will be exposed to harmful radiation"
This is not a major issue in the modern era. We minimize radiation exposure by use of shielding and proper technique during fluoroscopy, and wear badges for monthly monitoring. There is no evidence of increased cancer or other health risks in radiologists employed since the 1950s according to the NIH.
"You have to be a computer genius"
A wide range of people are successful in radiology, from programmers to mere mortals. We use computers every day, but you probably do too! We have 24 hour technical support in the department for when things go wrong.
"You have to have a PhD in Physics"
You made it into medical school and you can easily learn imaging physics—much of it you already know. Understanding of physics allows us to protect our patients and ourselves while optimizing diagnostic quality. Of course our medical physicists do have PhD's!
What You Might Like About Radiology
Contributing to the care of many patients
- Exam interpretation
- Minimally invasive therapies
- Physician consultations
- Multidisciplinary tumor boards
- New patient, new disease, new findings
- On-the-job learning
- New imaging modalities and techniques
- Better patient care and beautiful images
Control over your schedule
- Each case or procedure is a self-contained unit
- Great specialty for balancing work and personal life