Radiology Swap- Radiology Private Practitioner Goes To University (Part 1)
Ever watch the show called Wife Swap? Essentially, women of two households “swap” roles and responsibilities for a different family and share their experiences with the TV audience. It’s a lot of fun to watch! Similar to this exercise, I thought it would be fun to speculate on what would happen if you swapped a private practice and academic radiologist for a month. How would each experience the other’s practice? What would be the trials and tribulations? Let’s see!!!
Radiology Private Practitioner Goes To University
Radiology Swap Day 1:
The private practice radiologist walks into his university radiology reading room for the first time. Looking around, he encounters a group of 2 medical students, 1 resident, and 1 fellow waiting for him to read out the films from the yesterday evening and the morning. He thinks: Why are all these people here? Do I really need 4 additional trainees to look at the 10 cases left over? This is sort of ridiculous!!!
He begins to sort through the pre-dictations of the radiology resident and fellow. As the cadre of 4 trainees, look over his shoulder, he looks at the first dictation and decides to erase everything. Although he feels a little bit self-conscious from all the stares over his shoulder, he starts all over from scratch. He doesn’t like the way the resident words the dictation. It’s too freakin’ long. Rapidly, he runs through each of the resident and fellow’s cases, erases each, and re-dictates everything.
Only a few additional cases come through the department and the resident/fellow both handle each prior to looking at the cases. They are tertiary referrals from some facility and are very complex, but he does not perseverate and completes the cases in 30 minutes. Staring at the clock, he begins to walk around. Well, not much going on… I’m going to grab some breakfast!!!
After grabbing breakfast for 15 minutes, he arrives back at the reading room. Two more cases show up. The residents, fellow, and student seem to wait for the radiologist expectantly. Again, he promptly erases the resident and fellow dictations and quietly reads the two cases very slowly with the team to try to pass the time. This is Chinese water torture! Learning to run intermittently once every few hours from his office to the reading room, the day continues, as is, until work ends at 5 PM.
Radiology Swap Day 15:
It’s the weekly admin slot. On the schedule today, the radiologist attends a tumor board with bleary eyes at 7:00 AM. Not accustomed to the so much time spent on each case, it is hard for him to stay awake. But, he manages. Next, at 8 AM, he attends a meeting to discuss performance reviews for the technologist staff. Half of the meeting is spent discussing when the next meeting will take place. Ugh!!! What a waste of time!
He quickly dots off to read a few films to help out his colleagues instead of perching himself at his desk to write a grant. He has writer’s block. What the hell should I be writing now? I haven’t written anything but a dictation for 20 years!!! He sits and sits and finally falls asleep at his desk…
12 o’clock arrives. Thank God it’s lunchtime. Something to do!!! He happily runs down to the cafeteria to eat. He stretches out his lunchtime meal for one hour when the next meeting is about to start. Quality improvement initiative is the theme of the next meeting. Could they think of a more boring topic to meet about?
It’s now 3 PM. He begins to meet with the backup staff in the department to discuss increasing resident and attending research output. This group includes the research coordinator, the head of research, the research financier, and student research liaison. A recurrent thought flashes through his mind during the entire meeting. Who pays for all these extraneous people and why? I would cut the fat here immediately if I could!!!
Radiology Swap Day 30:
Assesment day! The chairman of the department sits the private practitioner down to summarize the events that ensued over the past month. The conversation goes something like this:
Chairman: I am impressed that you got all the work done in a timely fashion. They can be tough cases. Our other academic radiologist never seems to get all the films read.
Private Radiologist: Really? He only read 20 films per day!
Chairman: However, not only did you not apply for one grant, you also did not even start on one paper. And, you were caught sleeping at several meetings. Publish or perish!
Private Radiologist: Well, it’s difficult to write anything when you haven’t written a paper for over 20 years! How do you not sleep when half your meetings are about when the next meeting is going to be?
Chairman: And, your student, residents, and fellow claim that you rewrite all their dictations. You then grumble how they don’t know how to dictate and forget that they are there. Teaching is an integral part of academic radiology.
Private Radiologist: I don’t really understand why they have to be there. They don’t do anything but stare over my shoulder!
Chairman: Although you can make it through all the films, your academic prowess is very poor. Academic radiology is not for you…
Private Radiologist: Thank God I get to back to my private practice tomorrow!
See you next week for part 2!!!