What is Radiology?
A clinical radiologist studies all things radiology, but exactly what is radiology? Radiologists are medical doctors that use their expertise in imaging to diagnose disorders. We usually think of X-rays when we think of a radiologist, but they’re also trained in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, positron emission tomography (PET), and nuclear medicine. It’s a wide-ranging field of specialties that give you the power to diagnose life-threatening disorders. Your work will change and even save lives. If you want a career in radiology, here are 5 very key things you need to keep in mind before beginning your studies.
How to Get in Radiology
1. Approach your clinical internships and experiences as an employee, not a student
You’ve heard the old adage, if you want to be a “X”, you have to think like a “X.” Go into your clinical education and experience just like you would if you were already a radiologist. One day you will be.
2. Relish your clinical experiences and make mental notes along the way
During your internships and clinical encounters, you’ll meet with different patients and learn much about the clinical side of being a radiologist. Each one of your experiences are going to play a part in your education and your approach to radiology. At heart, you’re dealing with people who are often sick. They need your clinical experience to really count. If you make errors, learn. If you do something right, make a mental note of it.
3. Be assertive
Your radiology education will include many clinical experiences. Each one of these will require you to be mentally present, compassionate, and responsive to patient needs. Instructors and professionals alike recommend taking the initiative in your clinical experiences. If you’re interested in obtaining a job at one of the places where you’re training, don’t be afraid to let a supervisor know that. And don’t be afraid to use knowledge you’re certain of to make a big impression.
4. Commit to the long haul
You’ll be studying radiology for awhile, and for awhile it will seem like this is your life. And that’s a good thing! Your education might require you to cut out certain bad habits that interfere with your focus and study. Studying radiology can be an intensive experience, one that seems to consume your life at times, and that’s exactly how it should be. Make room for that experience to flourish by cutting out anything that gets in the way of your education. After all, positions like radiology imaging director are lucrative even in today’s competitive field. You want to give yourself your best chance to one day nab a career like that.
5. Care about your field
When you study one single subject, you absorb an enormous amount of information about that subject’s past and present. You’re its future. The information you learn today could one day be used to genuinely change the field of radiology, or at the very least, make a difference in the lives of the patients you help to diagnose one day. You want to genuinely care about patients and the subject you’re studying. Ultimately, you’re studying radiology to make a difference in the lives of the people you treat. Don’t just breeze through your courses. Take some time to care about the human elements and your own impact on how the field will move forward.
Ready, Set, Go
These 5 tips are just something to get you in the mood to succeed and absorb all of that fascinating radiology info you’ll encounter in the coming months and years. If that’s not enough motivation, consider that authoritative publications like CNN money consider radiology to be one of the best jobs out there. You can net that job if you focus, pay close attention during clinicals, and really care about your future and field.