Medical career path: Radiology and Radiologist – How can medical students ace it


Those who ever broke a bone do remember how a radiologist treated them. Today, radiology is growing in demand because physicians today are increasingly using technologies that are evolving. Computer-aided imagery is just one of them in helping diagnose and treat diseases.

Those who always wanted to know what radiologists do? they are in luck. This post will help them understand their job. For medical students, they can read a brief analysis of what radiology is and how they can excel in this field.

What is radiology and what is its use?

Radiology is the field of medicine where physicians make use of medical imaging and scan to diagnose injuries and treat conditions & diseases. Physicians reading and interpreting such kinds of scans are known as radiologists.

These physicians are well trained in their fields. Other than that, radiologists complete 13 years of training before entering regular practice.

Physicians often make use of radiology to help treat diseases and injuries (especially those where making a diagnosis was not possible). For instance, a patient taking a knock during a soccer game and unable to walk goes to a physician. Unsure of his walking problem, radiology helps detect whether it’s a knock to the muscle or the bone, thanks to x-ray

A wrong diagnosis can result in life-long issues from broken bones that did not heal properly. Physical injuries often need assistance from radiology. Other than that, if the physician treating such injuries does not make the right call, the patient would thus endure costly treatments and needless immobilization will weaken the patient.

For the physician, it’s game over.

Radiology thus helps doctors see what is inside the patient and thus provides a more definite diagnosis with a treatment plan.

What do radiologists do?

Radiologists are often involved in diagnosing and treating diseases. However, they also often review medical imaging reports of patients. On the other hand, in some specializations (such as interventional radiology) physicians meet patients directly and are involved directly in some procedures to cure them.

Radiologists can be involved with in-patient healthcare in different ways. Among them is a consultation with other physicians, monitoring and controlling radiological safety measures, and creating treatment plans for cancer and other critical diseases among many. They make use of medical imaging in combination with other tests (and procedures) to help determine complicated diagnoses.

How can med students become radiologists?

Since radiologists are performing a lot of procedures involving radiation, they need to be highly trained at all costs to handle the equipment and perform all the methods safely. This career path often needs extensive training beyond education. A radiologist should thus be highly specialized.

For radiology generalists, the demand is stable.

Aspiring radiologists should have exposure to different specializations as early as possible in training. This can help prepare them to follow a specialization pathway at the right time. Once they are trained properly, they then become key partners for all medical teams across various healthcare setups.

The training and education of a radiologist

Students must complete 4 years of undergraduate studies. After that, they should complete four years of Doctor of medicine (Even one from the best Caribbean medical university works well). Upon graduation from medical school, the student must complete a 4-year residency program at a renowned hospital.

Most radiologists complete a fellowship of a year or two in radiology itself, especially in the subspecialty they desire. In many other medical disciplines, a fellowship is often viewed as an optional thing. But in radiology, over 90% of physicians complete a fellowship as it is a must for the field.

Specializations of radiology

Radiology is a highly specialized field and has thus many specializations and sub-specializations. This helps carve out a very good career path. In pre medical courses for students, students can search for a residency program that helps them get prepared for radiology’s specializations in practical aspects.

After residency, the fellowship program available within a primary specialty can help radiologists to further create their forte and home in on their skills.

Diagnostic radiology

This field makes use of x-rays, ultrasounds, and other medical imaging to treat and diagnose diseases, determine any cancer present, find and cure blood clots, heart conditions, and treating other critical issues. Its sub-areas are as under:

  • Neuro radiology.
  • Pediatric radiology.
  • Nuclear radiology.
  • Pain medicine.
  • Hospice and palliative medicine.
  • Vascular and interventional radiology.

Diagnostic and interventional radiology

Medical grads selecting this specialty can expect to take at least 3 years of diagnostic radiology training and two further years spent in interventional radiology training. Here are its subspecialty areas:

  • Nuclear radiology.
  • Pain Medicine.
  • Pediatric radiology.
  • Hospice and palliative medicine.

Radiation Oncology

This is at times referred to as ‘cancer therapy’ as radiologists in this field are specialists in finding and treating cancer cells. These physicians also help with managing pain during the course of cancer treatments. They also do routine monitoring to check on patients.

Here are its sub-fields:

  • Hospice and palliative medicine.
  • Pain medicine.

Medical Physics

The following are its sub-areas:

  • Nuclear medical physics.
  • Diagnostic medical physics.
  • Therapeutic medical physics.

Leave a Response