Today we return to Part 2 of our Radiology Swap blog. Click on Radiology Swap- Radiology Private Practitioner Goes To University (Part 1) to catch up if you missed the first part of Radiology Swap!
University Radiologist Goes To Private Practice
Unaccustomed to working in a private office, the University radiologist is surprised by the relatively small size of the office. The parking lot is not too full and he is able to walk rapidly from his car to the office, very different from usually having to walk from the back of the parking lot. A nice perk.
Finally, entering the building, he locates his workstation and seat. As soon as he sits down at the desk with the PACS monitor, a technologist walks by and dumps a stack of papers with today’s work next to the monitors. It must be about 150 cases. Where are my resident and fellow? I need them to help me with the dictations! Oh, my God!!!! I just realized that I forgot how to use a dictaphone…
After struggling with dictations and having read maybe 10 of them, 11 AM rolls by as he tries to teach the technologists about the ultrasounds that they show him. But, the technologists roll their eyes as they just want to get through the cases so they can go home. They sense him droning on and on! He looks at the stack of papers that he was given in the morning. It still looks the same!
Noon: He begins to receive phone calls, not happy ones. Clinicians are asking him about the results of chest x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs. Unsuccessfully, he tries to soothe them and let them know he has not looked at them yet but he will get to them! No lunch for me.
Eyes reddened, head bleary, and voice cracking, the University radiologist now realizes it is almost 5 PM. He has only finished maybe half of the stack of orders. Lots more to go. No one to talk to. Can’t leave yet to get to the family.
10 PM arrives and he is finally finishing his last dictation of the “day”. How does the private practice radiologist do it?
Looking haggard and gaunt with a 15 lbs weight loss since he started the job (1 pound per day!), he arrives wearily into the office. His temper flares every once in a while, taking out his frustrations on the constant bombardment by the technologists by making snide remarks and yelling at the mistakes of the staff. For the past 15 days, he has left the office in the dark, no earlier than 8 PM. No direct contact with interested learners or other clinical physicians. All interactions on the phone. So, this is what physician burnout feels like!
Assessment day for Radiology Swap!!!
Practice President: So, you have been working in our practice for the past 30 days? Let’s start with the good part: I’m glad to see that you have made it through the encounter.
Academic Radiologist: Yeah, barely. How do you guys do it?
President: We do it efficiently to make money. The more we read, the more we make. It keeps us going. In any case, let’s continue with your review. We received many complaints from our staff that you were curt and inappropriate at times. In fact, it was like pulling teeth to get you to go to do fluoro cases on our patients. You kept on grumbling- “Where’s my resident?”
Academic Radiologist: I thought you would at least provide me with a physician assistant to help out with the daily work. I don’t usually touch patients. My residents do it for me.
President: We also received numerous complaints from our referrers that they did not receive their reports in a timely fashion. We lost some serious business this week.
Academic Radiologist: When you get 150 new studies per day, everyone has to wait!!!
President: I don’t think we would be able to keep you here because we need radiologists that can keep up with the work. If we don’t read the minimum volumes, we don’t get paid!
Academic Radiologist: The best part of this job was the 15 lbs weight loss! I can finally get some sleep again… His eyes begin to close dreaming about returning to his academic job.
The Radiology Swap Meetup
So, the academic and private practice radiologists now seat themselves in the same room to share their experiences after having returned to their respective jobs.
Private Radiologist: How do you do your job on a daily basis without getting totally bored?
Academic Radiologist: How do you do your job without getting totally burnt out?
Private Radiologist: Let’s agree that we are not right for each other’s jobs. It would never work out for us.
Academic Radiologist: At least I can understand what you go through on a daily basis. We used to make fun of private practice radiologists. Don’t think that I will do that anymore.
Private Radiologist: Doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. Let’s go out for drinks! I think we both earned it…
Academic: True. We both earned some stiff ones.
The radiologists leave the room and head down the street, never to look back on their former residency swap experiences again and happy to go out for some drinks…
(until next time!)