Interdisciplinary meetings at many hospitals tend to be working clinical conferences. Ultimately, the primary clinical physician will decide on patient treatment based on the conclusions at one of these meetings. So, we better be careful in choosing 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 will discuss why the more senior radiology resident or attending should take this critical responsibility.
When a first-year prepares for one of his first few conferences, the time is very long. Why? First, the first-year resident needs to figure out what is essential. Then, they must ask 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. A more senior radiologist can perform almost all the legwork by himself. And, of course, he will understand the clinical ramifications of his findings and conclusions. The amount of time the preparer and the attending staff saves is enormous. It is the time that the junior resident or attending could have used for more critical activities.
A first-year radiology resident may find answering questions thrown at them during a conference difficult. A 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 pitfall could theoretically influence patient management in the wrong direction.
For the more senior radiologist, she will be able to respond to 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.
Years of conference experience “under one’s belt” also let the presenter know 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 observing and participating in many conferences. But, it is not appropriate to expect the first year to know the rules when they start.
Even though there is a steeper learning curve for a first-year resident than a more senior resident, the experience of giving a conference is usually more valuable for the more senior resident. Why is that? For the most part, this resident will graduate from the program sooner and will need the experience of presenting for fellowship and beyond. The last year of residency should be a time to hone your presentation skills for the next career phase.
Interdisciplinary Conferences And The Presenter
Preparing and giving an interdisciplinary conference is crucial to the radiology residency experience. In deciding who should provide this conference, we must consider factors such as time, experience, skills, and seniority. Based on these factors, the more senior resident or attending is the right person to play this role.