Ever thought about what kind of radiologist you wanted to be? Many of you, you were probably thinking about private practice. Others have thought about writing papers and becoming the academic type. Maybe you are a hands-on radiologist and like to have your fingers on everything. And, a distinct minority of you may have opted for the business route. But have you ever noticed the website of the residency you attended or are interested in joining? Many of you have not thought twice about it. But, at the beginning of your residency website, mission statements describe what the residency program strives to be. Does that match what you have ultimately wanted to become? You may not realize it, but it is probably a pretty good match in most cases. And that is for a good reason. It is what the program that you attended trained you to become.
For those applying to residencies, this message about your residency should play a significant role in your decision to interview and rank the programs you attend. But, it usually is barely a thought within the application process. Getting into a residency program itself can be daunting enough. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t blow this message aside. It could make the difference between a career you desire and one you will regret. And here are the critical reasons why.
If you attend a program with a mission statement that contradicts what you strive to achieve, it can make it a bit more challenging to obtain the desired outcome. For instance, if you are going to a program without a research emphasis and want to learn to write papers, you will have a more challenging time finding a mentor who can teach you the ropes. It’s not impossible. But, you will not find it as easy to learn the tricks of the trade. To get high-quality papers published, you need certain ingredients. And, you are more likely to find the know-how in a program that does say research in its mission statement.
Or, if you are interested in global radiology and the program does not state anything about it, you are less likely to find a radiologist that works outside the country to emulate. You will have a harder time finding the connections you need to make a similar jump in your career.
Some programs mention that they are well known regionally, nationally, or internationally. Depending on where you want to stake your reputation, this factor can influence the location of your practice when you finally set up shop. A regionally known residency is excellent if you want to stay in the area. Likewise, if you wish to have connections throughout the country, consider a program with a national reputation. And, if you want international referrals and work, a residency with this reputation may be the right one for you. These choices can impact where you decide to work in the end.
You will notice the words hands-on in some residency mission statements. This verbiage symbolizes that the staff has the procedural know-how to train its residents to feel comfortable with many radiology procedures. Not all programs emphasize these skills. So, it is critical to figure out if you want a residency with a procedure-heavy emphasis. It’s not necessarily for everyone!
Other mission statements will claim to have to maintain a diverse class. These residencies may utilize culture/race/sex in addition to interests and competencies to decide which residents to rank in their program. So, expect a more racially/ethnically diverse mix in these programs than another one that does not mention this factor.
Connections and Mission Statements
If you cull through mission statements with a fine-tooth comb, you will notice that they may talk about connections within the community, global resources, businesses/industry, or other departments. Take these connections seriously because they may influence your residency and where you ultimately decide to practice. They may allow you to branch out to other areas that may jibe with your interests. It’s something else to mull.
Mission Statements Are More Critical Than What You Might Initially Think!
When you decide on a residency, that little phrase at the beginning of the residency website holds much power over your future career. Generally, it is a theme that the residency program follows seriously and can impact where you want to practice and what you will eventually do. So, before deciding where you want to go, take a second look at this clause. And determine if the values and ideals derived from these mission statements mesh with yours!