Although not every radiologist fits the particular stereotype for their generation, some generational stereotypes ring true. On the whole, the baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennials perform better and worse in some parts of the radiology workforce and have their own particular needs. When you work with these individuals, it is vital to keep this in mind. Sometimes, we need to change the way we operate to accommodate these differences. So, today I would like to go through some areas where radiologist generations differ, arranged by different topics. I hope you enjoy it!
PACS And Social Media
Baby Boomers: These folks tend to be less comfortable with PACS system changes. So, beware of the PACS upgrade! It can wreak havoc on their lives. Social media can be somewhat foreign to these radiologists. Many of these radiologists do not have Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram accounts. So, sending out messages via these media may be a waste of your time.
Generation X: For these radiologists, PACS utility issues tend to be a mixed bag. Some of the less tech-savvy radiologists fall into a similar category as a Baby Boomer. Others are more adept with PACS systems. On the other hand, social media outlets are generally much more native to the Generation X radiologist with broader and more frequent use. Although not all of these radiologists use social media, you will be more likely to find these folks more comfortable.
Millennials: On the whole, these radiologists cope well with PACS updates and changes as long as the network runs correctly. Their technology knowledge enables these individuals to learn quickly and grasp the most efficient ways to learn PACS. Social media is not just a tool for many of these individuals; it can be a way of life. Their online persona can become just as important as their offline interactions. They tend to engross themselves in the online world.
Barium Work/General X-rays
Baby Boomers: This group of individuals has, by far, the most expansive repertoire of experiences with both barium work and plain films. Since it was the mainstay of radiology initially, they often pick things up that their more junior colleagues will miss. They can work wonders with barium and grasp the nuances of a good barium examination.
Generation X: They can read plain films rather adeptly and efficiently. Although not as seasoned as a Baby Boomer, they can read an x-ray reasonably well and are comfortable with most barium work. During residency, they have had lots of experience with films and barium slinging.
Millennials: Since they spend a lot more time with CT and MRI than plain film work during the residency, overall, they are less comfortable with plain film interpretation. As residents, hardcore barium studies experience such as barium enemas can be minimal. So, the performance and interpretation of these studies can be a bit more challenging.
Baby Boomers: It is much less likely for the Baby Boomer to feel comfortable in this modality since they may have completed MRI training after their residency. Most Baby Boomers will avoid MRI if possible.
Generation X: Plus or minus. Depending on the experiences during residency, some feel very comfortable with general MRI work and others less so.
Millennials: Most Millenials are comfortable with all MRI since it has become “bread and butter” radiology, just as standard as all the other modalities out there. I would certainly put a lot of faith in their excellent reads!
Baby Boomers: This generation believes in the adage “live to work.” Overall, they tend to take less vacation than given (although they get more vacation time than the rest of the generations!)
Generation X: They have a similar work ethic to the Baby Boomers than Millenials, although they can straddle both sides. Vacation time is essential, and they fully take advantage of their time off the job.
Millennials: Everyone needs to work around the Millennials’ schedule. Their motto is “work to live, not live to work.” They like flexibility in their schedule and will do whatever they can to get to the lifestyle they want. Every day a practice gives vacation time, these radiologists will take the day. They do not spare a moment that they can use to bolster their lifestyle.
Baby Boomers: For the most part, these radiologists sit on a large nest egg, having worked through radiology during its most lucrative years. Debt load tends to be nonexistent. They have the most flexibility and can leave the workforce whenever they want. Many of these radiologists perform their job solely for the “love.”
Generation X: Most of these radiologists have paid off their debts and have done relatively well in their specialty. Money is still important to these folks because they still do not have enough to retire. But, they have good jobs and will do well overall since they have been working during the “good years.”
Millennials: Severe student debt weighs down these radiologists and can limit their opportunities to places and jobs that this generation does not want. It almost runs counter to their ideal lifestyle philosophy. These radiologists also started to work in the field during lean radiology years and are more likely to have had less opportunity to make money. Hence, there is some bitterness when it comes to discussing the topic of money!
Baby Boomers: Overall, this group develops solid interpersonal relationships with their colleagues and staff. They never had the opportunity to rely on social media or other forms of technological communication, so they deal well with others. In addition, they have the least need for external approval.
Generation X: These radiologists probably have more in common with the Baby Boomers than the Millenials since they grew up in a world without social media. They were allowed to fail just like the Baby Boomers but were more protected than them. But, they do develop strong interpersonal relationships with their colleagues.
Millennials: Since many of these folks were not allowed to fail growing up, they need to be outwardly appreciated by their colleagues much more than the other generation. They spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, garnering relationships with others. Since online life can be just as important as their offline persona, some can seem outwardly unfriendly because of the time they spend on their devices.
Baby Boomers: They love a great lecturer and taking cases. However, after completing a teaching episode, the Baby Boomer will research and read the topic to reinforce learning. Overall, the Baby Boomer does not care about electronic media, but some will use it. Old-fashioned books instead of ebooks work better for the Baby Boomer.
Generation X: The typical generation Xer fits somewhere between the Baby Boomer and the Millenial. They will do their research and not expect the lecturer to tell them everything they need to know but understand the practicalities of ebooks and electronic resources.
Millennials: They traditionally have been spoon-fed information in lectures. And, they expect everything to be spelled out for them when others teach them. Overall, they expect the teacher to know everything about a topic and point them toward all the resources they need to read. Most Millennials use ebooks exclusively and will utilize electronic media to reinforce all learning.
I repeat, “These stereotypes certainly do not apply to all radiologists out there!” However, I think there is an overall tendency for individuals of each generation to fit some of the stereotypes. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each generation allows us to schedule accordingly, allocate appropriate resources, and understand what each generation needs. For instance, since the Millennial tends to have a higher debt load, allow for more moonlighting opportunities or extra work. Or, make sure to incorporate additional training with new electronic PACS system upgrades for the Baby Boomer. Bottom line- it pays to understand each generation!!!
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