Tag Archives: Residency

5 Free Productivity Tools for the Radiology Resident

If you are a radiology resident, you probably spend more than eight hours a day in front of a computer.  Just as a cardiologist might spend hours looking for the best-in-class stethoscope and a neurologist a perfectly balanced reflex hammer, a radiologist might do well to spend some time thinking about spiffing up your workstation.

These are not radiology-specific tools.  They are also not mind-blowing innovations.  Instead, their existence often go unnoticed.  Like air, some tasks that these programs help you with are so ubiquitous you may not even even realize they could be improved.

Snipping Tool

Screen capturing is easy as 1, 2, 3

There is always a role for downloading full resolution TIFF images for publication purposes.  However, sometimes you just want a simple screenshot for case conference or teaching file.

Fortunately, there’s a one that is on just about every modern Windows machine.

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4 Ways Radiology Resident Experience Determines the Quality of a Residency

You are a fourth year medical student.  You’ve worked hard for three years, passed the USMLE with flying colors, conducted some spectacular extracurricular work.  And you’ve decided to pursue diagnostic radiology.  Continue reading

Can Gamification Improve Learning Effectiveness? (Spoilers: I Don’t Know)

This post is part of a series on preparing for the radiology core exam.

No, I don’t actually have the answer to the whether gamification can improve learning effectiveness.

But my radiology class might find out first hand through our QBank Challenge!

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Preparing for The Radiology Core Exam

This is the first in a series of posts about preparing for the radiology core exam.

September is an interesting month for third year residents.  Your upper class residents finished the core exam 2-3 months ago and receive their scores in August.  The new editions of preparation books for the next year are often published around this time.

And, if you are like me, September is the month you might do some practice cases from a question bank and realize the  you have a lot of work to do.

This series of periodic short posts will documents the progress of my core exam preparation.  I am at best a mediocre test taker who happens to procrastinate a lot; this is a bad combination for standardized testing.  By keeping this series, hopefully I can keep up with what will be an overwhelming volume of information that I will have to know.

The Bliss of Zero

The clock hit 7pm. My thumb off the deadman switch on the dictaphone. The glow of the reading room workstation monitors reflected off my glasses. I squinted. A click of the mouse. A curious pause.

And then there it was. I saw…

Nothing. A worklist with zero unread exam.

Inbox zero, Epic Radiant variant.

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5 Tech Tips Before Starting Radiology Residency

After a well-deserved celebration, the medical students who matched into radiology this year will realize what they’ve known all along – it will be a little more than a full year before they would start the actual residency they signed up for.

In many training programs, this post-match, pre-July-1 time is when the attention starts to focus on the folks who matched last year, those who will be starting in three months. Personally, April was when I also began to both getting psyched about starting a new residency program and getting nervous about preparing.

This post is about buying technology for those who are fixing to start radiology residency this year.

1. Find out If Your Program Has a Computer Fund

Any form of technology is a serious investment for a resident, as a computer can easily cost you a 2-week paycheck.

Before you buy anything, find out if your residency program provides funding for new computer and/or textbooks.

If it does, then great! It is then worth finding out when you can start using it. For instance, my residency program requires that you be officially working – i.e. July 1 – before you are eligible for the professional funding.

2. Get at Least One Portable Computer/Device

A paper in Academic Radiology states that having ready access to technology will become increasingly important in education.

The PACS stations at some hospitals provide unlimited access to the web and are outfitted with modern web browsers and office tools, but others may provide heavily filtered web access with minimal applications. Unless you are certain that your situation is the former, it would be worth having some form of portable computer/device.

Which form factor you decide to go with – tablet, ultrabook, regular notebook, or phablet – is a personal choice. Just keep in mind that the things you might end up using them for:

  1. Take notes during conference
  2. Look up a diagnosis or finding on Radiopaedia.org or one of its commercial competitors
  3. Integrate with electronic medical records – some institution’s EMR would ask that your device meet some security feature requirements
  4. Access the digital edition of a textbook
  5. Touch up a slides presentation for journal club or case conference

3. Get a Twitter Account

Social media is becoming increasingly important in radiology. Any national radiology conference you attend will have a strong Twitter presence, and many people are also on LinkedIn.

Since one of your tasks during the residency is to learn about the most pressing issues in the radiology community at large, becoming familiar with tools like Twitter can be tremendously helpful.

Also, if you start now, you can grab all the cool names before someone else gets them.

4. Avoid EInk Readers for Radiology Books

Radiology textbooks are expensive. It is made worse by the fact that there are so many of them! You will need a book for each subspecialty to really learn the nuances of each rotation.

Unfortunately, eInk readers are just not good enough for images on radiology. Kindle Paperwhite, for example, sports only 16 shades of grey. Reading the same books on a tablet like the iPad, Nexus 9, or Kindle Fire is a different experience, owing to the markedly improved contrast resolution over eInk.

However, be careful that sometimes Kindle or EPUB format books compress images so much that the quality is visibly degraded.

This is not to say electronic books are bad. Buying electronic books can be a good way both to save Benjamins and to reduce the weight of your bag if you load them on a tablet instead of carrying the hardcover incarnations.

EInk readers are great, and I love my Kindle Paperwhite. They are just not for radiology images.

5. Decide If You Want to Pay for an Anatomy Resource

If you are anything like me, you would find memorizing anatomy in a vacuum nearly impossible. Incidentally, it is also one of the most important funds of knowledge to acquire as a first year resident.

Therefore, it is sometimes worthwhile to have access to a good anatomy resource for use on-service. There are free resources like HeadNeckBrainSpine neuroradiology and XRayHead for MSK MRI. e-Anatomy by IMAIOS is an atlas that has some free content but is mostly a paid resource.

At some point you will have to decide whether free resources are sufficient for your needs. Your institution may provide access to a paid resource already, or your professional funding may cover it. If you have to pay out-of-pocket, consider the possibility of sharing an account with a co-resident (make sure you are not violating the user agreement, though).

Conclusion

Radiology residents use more technology than possibly more than other specialty residents from devices, educational resources, to social media. Ultimately how much technology plays a part in your training is a personal preference. However, keeping some of the above points in mind may help you avoid making bad purchase mistakes and be more prepared for July 1.

The Gorilla Detection Exercises at Dawn – A Theory of Radiology Nightfloat

As a rite of passage as well as part of the regular work schedules of a radiologist, a resident trainee must take on the role of independent interpretation for exams that come into the hospital at night.  I happen to work at a place where attending backup is readily available by phone, but an attending radiologist is not in-house at night.  This provides an abundance of learning opportunities.

After finishing one week of radiology night duties as one of two trainees, I’ve begun to think how the progression of the night always seem to follow some pattern, and what that means for a radiologist trainee on call.

Pareto-Efficient

First, it’s probably useful to introduce the concept of a pareto-efficient curve. The curve explains the relationship between two desirable but partially mutually exclusive qualities.  For example, a radiologist wants to be very fast at interpreting studies.  A radiologist also wants to provide very high quality interpretations.  Alas, we cannot do both at the maximal capacity.  One might imagine the relationship between the two to look like this:

pec1

Standard pareto-efficiency curve

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