Hybrid Education, Workforce Shortages Among Issues Early Career Radiologists Contemplate at RSNA

Issues of concern affecting early career radiologists and radiology trainees are unique to this next generation of radiologists, explains Yasha Gupta, MD, assistant professor at University of Southern California, breast imaging radiologist, and associate editor of “Early Career Radiologist” for Applied Radiology. She notes that many up-and-coming radiologists lived through the pandemic during their education, and are coming together at RSNA to discuss implications of this experience as well as other important trends in medical imaging.

“With Covid, things changed in terms of hybrid work. This is something totally new and is affecting trainees because a lot of them now are doing remote readouts where the attending is at home or somewhere offsite at a different location, versus doing the [traditional] side-by-side readouts,” Dr. Gupta says.

“Academic institutions are still figuring out how to adapt to hybrid work, and learning the best practices in terms of teaching remotely. When you have trainees, you have to think about, ‘Is this really helping their education?’ We’re still in the learning phase and have to figure out the right way to handle it,” she says.

Among other issues of practical importance to radiologists-in-training attending RSNA is private equity firms taking over radiology groups and corporatization of the specialty. Since the majority of early career radiologists go into private practice, Dr. Gupta says that it’s important attendees consider this trend and its implication on the field, a topic she plans to cover in an upcoming column.

Dr. Gupta also notes the impact radiology workforce shortages will have on early career radiologists, who will be shouldering the burden of increasing volumes, particularly as later-career radiologists retire.

“It's on us to make good decisions for our group for the future, and think about creative methods we’ll use to handle all the volume. There just aren’t enough radiologists and the volume is booming,” Dr. Gupta adds, noting that the scenario will give rise to the need for effective negotiation of contracts for early-career radiologists. “Radiologists are having a lot of contracts thrown at them. And people are leaving one institution for another,” she adds, noting they have to be ready for various contractual situations.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another important topic at RSNA, says Dr. Gupta, who recommends attending sessions on the topic and talking to vendors about their solutions. “It’s always so interesting to get a hands-on approach to learning how AI might end up changing our lives.”

For trainees at RSNA, the broad-based radiology education that includes case-based learning remains vital and relevant, she adds. “Our first job as a radiology trainee is to learn radiology. So I always suggest attending those because they are the most important things at RSNA."

Dr. Gupta also recommends exploring the social media aspect of radiology, utilizing apps like Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. “Many of the social media platforms are becoming more and more [medical] image based. There’s a lot of potential that we can harness to educate the public about radiology and what we do,” on top of using the apps for networking and career advancement opportunities.

Finally, early-career radiologists are using face-to-face networking opportunities in Chicago to learn more about how other institutions nationwide do things, bringing back the valuable experience others generously share to advance their career and improve the delivery of patient care.

“I always encourage trainees to attend the social events that happen outside of RSNA to meet people, to shake hands. You just never know where one encounter could lead you.”

Dr. Gupta invites trainees and young career radiologists to contribute ideas and content for the column. Reach out with interest, parikhyasha@gmail.com.


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