Which is the radiology subspecialty with the best lifestyle and shortest/least taxing work hours? And how about lifestyle in body imaging?
The lazy radiologist .
I love the question. Why? Because it reflects the purpose of my website: To get answers that no one else will give you!
In any case, as you may know, if you want to make good money, radiology is no longer a lifestyle specialty. Imaging volumes are up, and very few imaging centers will hire someone that cannot keep up with the work. And, if you are the owner of a practice, you will undoubtedly need to work hard. But, if you are willing to take lower pay and not work as an owner, then numerous lifestyle opportunities abound. Of course, you can always decide to work part-time three days a week and have a great lifestyle as a lazy radiologist! Most specialties will allow you to work part-time depending on the practice where you choose to look.
OK. So, let’s say that you are interested in working full time and want a relative lifestyle subspecialty. My recommendation to you would be to find something in the outpatient imaging sector. Typically, hospitals and urgent care centers that need radiologists to work on call will be significantly busier and will require you to work on off hours. And, being busy disrupts the whole lazy radiologist lifestyle thing!
Then, what are some of those specialties that are more conducive to outpatient imaging? My first thought would be breast imaging. First of all, you will find very few breast emergencies and call scenarios for a breast imager. Unfortunately, the daily volume of work can be difficult if you want to make a significant amount of dough. But, at least you may not have to take call!
What else? Teleradiology gigs will allow you to work on your own time when you want. Some of them have “dayhawk” needs. In this situation, you can have the ultimate flexibility if you decide upon this field. But, then again some teleradiology firms want night workers. That may not fit the bill for what you want so don’t choose that pathway if so!
Also, MSK imaging is not a bad choice for lifestyle-oriented radiologists. MR MSK imaging tends to be an outpatient phenomenon. And, you can find some outpatient centers willing to take on an MSK radiologist.
Body imaging would not be my first thought as a lifestyle specialty because most practices have expectations for you to read lots of studies and to do lots of procedures. Also, most practices will expect you to take call. However, certain workplaces do allow for a better lifestyle than others. You can find them if you look although they may not be lifestyle-oriented in the most “desirable” cities. (That’s just the way it is!)
Most other subspecialties also involve significant amounts of work and time. But, as you get on in years, you may also have more flexibility in choosing a more lifestyle-oriented pathway as well. For instance, many interventionalists become diagnostic rads and so and so forth. So, there is no reason why you can’t choose to change your “lifestyle” pathway along the way.
Finally, remember. To be good at anything takes a lot of work. So, you may need to sacrifice being a real expert for lifestyle. That’s just the way it is!
Hope that helps a bit,
Barry Julius, MD