Curriculum/Teaching Issues In The United States And Abroad
I wanted to thank you for your outstanding posts and constant stream of current topics promoting the dissemination of Radiology as both a profession and collective guild. I’ve been hanging on every word you’ve written and it’s almost as if you are anticipating my questions in advance. So I am very much emboldened by the relevancy of your blogs and posts. I am a Canadian, who is a first year diagnostic radiology resident in Targu Mures, Romania. Here, we follow a 5 year path as outlined by the EU and European Society of Radiology (ESR). The problem is that the actual element of “teaching” is virtually non existent and we are expected to follow or shadow senior residents all day long and to read on our own. I find myself lost and overwhelmed by all the modalities I see here on a daily basis. For example, a typical day involves spending a few hours in an ultrasonography clinic, seeing conventional or plain film radiography cases and a CT or MRI case following a patient scan. Most often the radiologists on staff are consulting with other physicians and it’s not like they have the time to point out things. I’ve decided to follow a structured plan and would REALLY, really appreciate a curriculum from you. What should I cover in my first 2 years? I know I’m asking a lot of you. Perhaps you can abbreviate your own institution’s plan for me? The first thing I’ve begun to do for myself is to revisit skeletal anatomy; including that of the head and neck. I don’t have a lot of text books here (in English, that is) but I have a ton of PDF books on my PC. This is proving to be another problem because I miss the tactile experience of actual textbooks and looking at a laptop all day is tiring. I will digress and hope to hear from you. Take your time 🙂
Thanks for the great compliments. It is much appreciated and makes writing these posts all worth it!
It is interesting that you mention that teaching is “nonexistent” in Romania. It’s almost the opposite problem that we have in the United States where everything seems to be regulated by the government. We need to have x number of noon conferences, etc. I almost wish we had a model for teaching somewhere between the Romanian model and the United States model. Residents seem to get bogged down by the regulations and spend less time learning by reading films (It’s an essential ingredient for radiology!!!!) So, in a sense you can consider yourself lucky but also you are certainly missing out some types of the more didactic teachings as well.
In terms of the curriculum, the pat answer is that residents tend to study all the material expounded on the ABR website under the core study guide. You should definitely take a look at that to get an idea of all the things you theoretically need to know. However, I find it to be a bit overwhelming and you really need to focus your studying over the course of your time as a resident. So in the real world, I would recommend starting to read some of the basic overall books in each modality when you start a rotation each month such as Mettler for nuclear medicine and the requisite series for some of the other subjects. You can certainly check out some of the curricula and books on the web in U.S. Residency programs to get an idea of what you need to know and the books they use. You can also look at some of the books that my residents like in the book links section of radsresident. But most importantly, emphasize the pictures and captions and then secondarily look at the text to understand the pictures and captions. And keep in mind the ABR blueprints and core material when you are studying. Subsequently, go through the case review series to learn how to go through cases once you have the fundamental knowledge of each of the basic modalities. This will reinforce all that you learned.
You also actually make an important point about missing the tactile experience of textbooks and looking at laptops. It happens to be the subject matter of my next article!!! PDF articles are great because they are so easily obtained. On the other hand, retention rates for PDFs are probably not as good as reading directly from a printed textbook.
Hope this helps a bit,