Question About Emergency Radiology:
Hi Dr. Julius. I have recently developed an interest in trauma radiology. I like it because I would get to work from anywhere. And, I don’t have to deal with patients and people in general, aka no tumor boards (I’m an introvert). Moreover, I read somewhere that there is a significant demand for fellowship-trained emergency radiologists. The salary is on par with other specialties, although I don’t understand how they can track RVUs for an emergency radiologist. I was wondering if you can discuss the CONS of the job. I know it is a one-week night float system with two weeks off (which I love). The night shifts are long, from 10 to 12-hour shifts. Maybe malpractice is higher? But I am not able to think of any other CONS. My ideal job would be a private practice in a suburban area (not in a big city). Would you recommend doing a dedicated emergency radiology fellowship or instead do an MSK/Neuro fellowship focused on emergency? The residency I am in gives an EXCELLENT exposure to body trauma causes.
So, what do I think about emergency/trauma radiology? Well, to start, let’s first say that the job can vary widely from one worksite to another. If you are doing teleradiology ER work, that is very different from an in-house radiologist. To say that it is an excellent job for an introvert also depends on what your job entails. I know some trauma radiology jobs that need extroverts to present cases to the emergency department, highlight their research, or examine patients!.
Night shifts can be a bummer for some folks. (I found it a little quiet and depressing during my residency) For others, it can be the ultimate in convenience (imagine being able to go shopping at 11 AM when no one is there!).
My Take On Emergency Radiology
Although what floats your boat can differ widely between you and me, I never really had a craving for trauma type cases. I found them a bit more repetitive than cancer or a rare disease. But, I came from a level one trauma center during my residency, so I had extensive exposure to the trauma experience (perhaps too much!)
Fellowships For Emergency Radiology
Regarding what to study to become an emergency radiologist, I would consider the MSK/Neuro route. Why? Because it gives you a bit more flexibility when you go out and find a job. You can become an emergency radiologist with those specialties under your belt. But, you can do other work in general radiology and some subspecialty work as well. From my experience, trauma radiology is more comfortable to practice, and almost anyone can do it. On the other hand, Neuro and MSK work is a bit more subspecialized, so I like that option as a fellowship a little bit better. (unless you want to do academic ER radiology as a career choice.)
Those are some of my random musings about emergency radiology!
Barry Julius, MD