Is The New DR-NM Pathway Worthwhile?
Message For The Director
Can you kindly comment on the ABR/ABNM 16month dual pathway? Is it worth it? Can one get a job without another extra year of fellowship?
I would love to talk about the DR-NM pathway. I am an ABR and ABNM certified radiologist so I have some interest in this matter.
Reasons To Not Participate In DR-NM Pathway
If you are going into the DR-NM pathway, it is possible that you could find a job after the 16-month program during your residency. However, for most people, I would probably opt for the more traditional route for several reasons. First, you are going to have a lot less training in general radiology. For most radiologists coming out of residency, you want to maximize your experiences in general radiology so that you feel comfortable in most modalities. You are replacing 12 months of general radiology with almost exclusively nucs. If you have less general radiology, you are less likely to be comfortable with modalities other than nuclear medicine when you will work as an attending in a general practice. Most radiology residents work for private practices with general radiology.
Second, it may be slightly less desirable for most private practice employers to hire someone that has had less “radiology” experience. Since this DR/NM pathway is so new and there is less general radiology training, employers may recognize this pathway as a second tier.
And finally, you are pigeon holing yourself into nuclear medicine from the very beginning. Most programs will want to know that you are going to be completing the DR/NM program as early as possible (perhaps even from day one of residency!) since scheduling mandates that you need a specific set of rotations. Unfortunately, the majority of trainees have no idea what they want to do at the start of residency.
One Reason To Participate In DR-NM Pathway
So, who would be right for this program? The individual that has known for a very long time that he/she wants to specifically subspecialize in the nuclear medicine field. Also, this person should be interested in a mostly academic job (I think that would be the one area where employers would find candidates completing this pathway most enticing).
I’m not quite sure where you stand. However, for the majority of trainees, I would generally recommend the standard one-year nuclear medicine fellowship at this point in time.
Hope that helps!