Ever wonder what the general public thinks about who we are and what we do daily? Here are some thoughts and fallacies about their perception of us versus our reality!
General Public Thinks Radiologists And Radiology Technologists Are The Same!
Almost every radiologist gets the question from their family or friends about whether you help position the patients to take the images they interpret. Or, you’ll get the question of whether you had to attend medical school. Well, the reason for that most likely stems from their perception that there are no differences between what a radiologist versus a radiology technologist does for patients. And, if you think I am crazy, ask your great aunt or an old acquaintance. There is a better-than-even chance they will say the same thing!
We Exist In Lonely, Dark Rooms Only
If someone understands some of the tasks we do for our jobs, it is also likely that they imagine us working in a dark room day and night. Sure, some tele-radiologists live that life. But, most of us still meet with colleagues, technologists, nurses, and patients. We also participate in tumor boards, teaching residents, and administration. In fact, for most of us that chose radiology, those interactions keep us engaged in our careers.
Radiologists Are Not Sociable
Here, nothing could be further from the truth. As many of you are interviewing, you will find that radiologists are mostly friendly. Sure, there are some lemons out there. But, we tend to be much more easygoing than the surgeon around the corner or the cardiologists down the hall. And many of us are interventionists or mammographies that see patients daily. Yes, some of us are a little more introverted than the typical physician and don’t do much of that patient-face work. Nevertheless, we tend to have more time to invest in ourselves than many other professions in medicine because we are not always on the job. So, we have hobbies and more that lead us to interact with many people!
All Radiologists Are Tech Savvy
We do need to know how to work with PACS systems and spend a lot of time on computers. But you probably know that many radiologists are not the most facile users of social media, virtual reality, programming, or other technological activities. Herein lies a surprise for many. You need to know your anatomy and a little bit of technology. But you certainly don’t have to be a techno-geek!
All Radiologists Are Rich
There is a significant variation in jobs, debt levels, cost of living, and more. Many radiologists make a good living. But, if you are hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole from your medical school training, it would be difficult or not impossible to call these radiologists rich. Also, although academics can and do generally pay a respectable salary, it is not what many Americans consider crazy high. If you listen to Dave Ramsey, doctors, in general (and probably including many radiologists!), do not crack the top ten professions that are millionaires. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is!
General Public Perception Of Radiology Versus The Reality
Our daily reality as radiologists is starkly different compared to the expected existence of those not embedded in medicine. Like why we never quite get the job of an investment banker at the trading desk that trades foreign bonds, most folks will never know the sense of accomplishment and pride we take in our radiology careers. The average person may not know the difference between radiologists and technologists, our daily roles, and that we are not all Bill Gates. But it is good to know what the majority probably thinks of us!