Should First Year Residents Give Interdisciplinary Conferences?
Interdisciplinary meetings at many hospitals tend to be working clinical conferences. Ultimately, the primary clinical physician will make her decision for patient treatment based on the final conclusions at one of these meetings. So, we better be careful to choose which radiology team members prepare for interdisciplinary conferences to get the best possible patient care.
Therefore, this begs the question. Should a first-year resident claim responsibility for presenting at one of these interdisciplinary conferences? Or should the program delegate the senior resident or attending to give the conference. We are going to discuss the multitude of reasons why I think the more senior radiology resident or attending should take this important responsibility.
When a first year prepares for one of his first few conferences, the amount of time involved is very long. Why? First of all, the first year resident needs to figure out what is important. Then, they need to ask either a senior resident or attending which images are most relevant to the case? And finally, the resident must figure out the clinical significance of each finding.
On the other hand, a more senior resident or attending will experientially know what is most important. In fact, a more senior radiologist can perform almost all the legwork by himself. And, of course, he will know the clinical ramifications of what his findings and final conclusions mean. The amount of time saved by the preparer and the attending staff is enormous. It is the time that the junior resident or attending could have used for more important activities.
A first-year radiology resident may find it difficult to answer questions thrown at them during a conference. Even a simple question can derail a junior resident’s presentation simply because he has not experienced that subject matter or modality. More importantly, it is also possible that the first year resident may spout misleading information to the clinicians. This could theoretically influence patient management in the wrong direction.
For the more senior radiologist, she will have the ability to respond to the clinical radiological inquiries with a backstop of years of experience to guide the clinician appropriately. In addition, the senior radiologist is more likely to nudge the clinician toward the appropriate treatment of his patients. Experience counts.
Having years of conference experience “under one’s belt” also allows the presenter to know what needs discussion, when to chime in, and when to stay silent. This skill only comes from years of practice. Although some junior residents may have this skill, you cannot expect all first-year residents to be adept at giving conferences. Eventually, all first-year residents will develop the art of presenting by first observing and later participating in many conferences. But, it is not appropriate to expect the first year to know the rules when he first starts.
Even though there is a steeper learning curve for a first-year resident than a more senior resident, the experience of giving conference is usually more valuable for the more senior resident. Why is that? For the most part, this resident will graduate the program sooner and will need the experiences of presenting for fellowship and beyond. The last year of residency should be a time to hone your presentation skills for the next phase of your career.
Interdisciplinary Conferences And The Presenter
Preparing and giving an interdisciplinary conference is a crucial part of the radiology residency experience. In deciding who should give this conference, we need to consider factors such as time, experience, conference skills, and seniority. Clearly, based on these factors, the right person to play this role is the more senior resident or attending.