Wow, what a feeling! You did it! You’re officially a first-year Radiology resident! And, you just took your first step toward the rest of your life!! One full year has gone in the blink of an eye and you molded yourself into an unbeatable intern! Your mastery of surgical knots, writing extensive progress notes, rounding, and discharging patients have you feeling like you can tackle the world! In fact, you’re so eager to show off all your skills as a first-year radiology resident to your new Radiology Attendings on your first rotation that you jump right in and introduce yourself. You find a really comfy chair next to him, eagerly waiting to learn.
So, your attending opens the very first case and you already know the answer is pneumonia. Let’s face it on those long ICU rotations when was it not? To your surprise, it’s a head CT. He then gives it a quick scroll and asks those fateful words “Normal or abnormal?” … You sit there in silence… Chills run down your spine…sweat appears on your forehead…What just happened? Uttering the word ”I” a few times, you finally commit to the full sentence “I don’t know”. You have failed. You know nothing and feel like you are nothing… At least that’s how you feel for a short while. But hey, it’s your first day!
Get used to it… In the beginning months of the first year, the phrase “I don’t know” will become all too familiar because let’s face it, you don’t know! Not a thing! As an intern, you haven’t picked up a single book relating to radiology. And, you may have only looked at the impression to relay the information to your higher-ups when needed. You just did not have the time! So? What now? Where do you turn? Who can help you? You feel smaller than an insect. How can you possibly turn this around? Get ready to take all your years of what you learned and flush it down the toilet! You’re about to enter a whole new realm, the world of radiology.
The Mega Five
Enter the Mega Five. What is the Mega Five you say? Only the five most powerful resources at your fingertips for the first-year radiology resident! Sure, there are a ton more but these have been the most help in my experience. So, let’s start!
Case review series, Case review series, Case review series!!!
I cannot say it enough but these reviews are incredible. Most importantly, you don’t need a lot of background in order to learn as you go. And, the series takes excerpts of information from the Requisites (longer and wordier than the case review series!) and summarizes the material. Each case has questions and pictures. In addition, it literally contains every subject with increasingly difficult sections as you progress within each of the books.
I love this book! It contains high-yield pictures and information, especially the Aunt Minnies. And, the book goes system-by-system, image-by-image. It even gives mini dictations of how you should describe the entity. I can honestly say Core Radiology has helped bolster all my dictations positively. With all the knowledge you attain during 1st year, this book serves to solidify and maintain a steady foundation.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but yes…Radiopedia is an incredible resource. First, you get fast information, pictures you can scroll through including CT and MRI studies, differential diagnoses, and links and videos. You can also sign up for these links and videos if you so choose (I did for emergency radiology before taking call). Finally, you can think of it as an underused gem like Wikipedia for radiology but even better!
Oh, RADPrimer how I love you so… RADPrimer makes the list because let’s face it… What are facts without questions to test yourself? With over 4000 questions, you better just dive in and do 10 a day because it has a UWorld feel to it. And, if you’re like me, UWorld was the Holy Bible for USMLE Step 1, 2, and 3. So, why let this opportunity go to waste? Get cracking now… Just start RADPrimer and crank out questions. You’ll see how much you really know from your studies.
Last but not least, we have Radiology Assistant. To put it mildly, this website is incredible with detailed information, videos, pictures, and cartoons. You name it and they have it. In fact, I utilize this website as much as possible. There are even lectures to watch that break down hard topics, an amazing bonus.
But Wait There’s More…
In addition to my top five resources, of course, there are a ton more. Some of the other resources that I have used include Felsons Roentgenology, E-Anatomy (application), headneckbrainspine.com, and Lieberman’s eRadiology. Although I poked fun at it above, I still need to mention the radiology requisites series in a better light. As wordy as they may be, you must read them. Why? Well, I’ve noticed that the question banks gather much of their information from the requisites. And finally, please do not be afraid to use free resources like Google, Google images, and even YouTube!
My Final Thoughts
The Mega Five worked well for me during my as a first-year radiology resident because these resources were readily available and came with a wealth of knowledge. If you take advantage of the Mega Five too, your hard work, diligence, and dedication will pay off. You too will be saving lives “radiographically” one day at a time (A catchphrase for my dating app. I am a single resident, so don’t take it, it’s mine and copyrighted!) So, best of luck to you. Remember, being a first-year radiology resident is tough but there are lots of quality resources to help you out. So, never give up!