How to have a long and fulfilling career in radiology

2023 03 02 16 48 9466 2023 03 02 Ecr Brady Opening Ceremony 400

VIENNA - If you're a radiology trainee or a young radiologist, what steps can you take to have a long and fulfilling career? ESR President Prof. Adrian Brady offered some advice during the opening session at ECR 2023.

  • Don't expect to be perfect in everything you do.

    You won't always be right, Brady said.

    "But above all, be kind to yourself when you fail or get something wrong, having tried honestly and diligently," he said. "And be kind to your colleagues when you discover their imperfections. Someday, when the shoe is on their foot, you'll need their kindness."

  • Don't expect to be practicing radiology 10 years from now the same way as you're learning it today.

    It's a rapidly changing specialty, and much of what you're learning now will be redundant or outdated by the time you reach the middle or the end of your career, Brady said. Embracing innovation in the right way at the right time can lead to huge leaps in human endeavor, according to Brady.

    "Be open to innovations and look to conferences like ECR to highlight them and don't hold on to older ways of doing things, just because you learned them during your training, if they have become out of date," he said.

  • Be conscious of the dusts and zephyrs of change early before they become gales.

    "Adapt to these winds; don't fight them," Brady said.

    COVID-19 has accelerated the creation of distance between radiologists and patients, and between radiologists and referrers, he noted.

    "But we're a clinical specialty and we shouldn't allow suggestions otherwise," he said. "I don't like to hear referrers being called clinicians, as if they represent a category to which we don't belong. We are clinicians too, and we must not accept the notion that our only right to a place is chained to a workstation in a closed room. That can be part of what we do, but seeing that's all we do is an indication to others to forget our existence. And it's a short step from there to our ceasing to exist."

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those winds of change that has the potential to change the lives of patients and radiologists in many beneficial ways, he said.

    Prof. Adrian Brady speaking at Wednesday evening's opening ceremony. Image courtesy of the ESR.Prof. Adrian Brady speaking at Wednesday evening's opening ceremony. Image courtesy of the ESR.

    "We must remember that we don't control AI, and if its capabilities can be harnessed and used by other specialties without us unless we add value," Brady said. "We must be proactive and aggressive in showing others how important what we do is, and we must be better than others can be in doing this, even if they're supported by AI tools."

    It's incumbent on senior radiologists and teachers to emphasize these imperatives to their juniors, he said.

    Brady said that if you still want to have a job as a radiologist ten years from now, it's important to talk to your referrers and your patients.

    "Find ways to make yourselves indispensable, an active, visible, and ever-present member of the clinical team in which you work, not just a hidden resource that gives interpretations and reports," Brady said. "Put yourselves out there. And if you do, radiology has a bright future in the hands of expert future generations."

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