Radiology Café Blog

X-ray of a fountain pen for the Radiology Cafe Blog

The time had come to arrange a study week and actually find out what the radiologists get up to in their secret hidey-holes of the hospital…

Working as a locum enabled me to arrange a study week fairly easily and I approached a friendly radiologist in the department, expressed my interest in a career in radiology and asked who the best person to contact for help was.  A few emails later and the personalised timetable of the study week was sitting nicely in my inbox.  Now all I had to do was put my scrubs away and dig out some normal clothes for the week.

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What is the ESGAR Junior Summer School?

In 2017 the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR) organised the 3rd Junior Summer School, a 5 day programme of focused teaching from 17th to 21st July for radiology trainees.  It was held at the Valata Minusa Country Resort approximately 15 minutes outside of the town of Modica in Sicily.  All of the teaching was delivered in English.  I hope that my account of the experience gives you a taste of the ESGAR Junior Summer School 2017 in Sicily!


ESGAR Junior Summer School 2017 summary

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Dear doctor,

Congratulations! You have made it through medical school and are about to embark on a journey which will change you and which only few will understand.  So before you get thrown in, some friendly advice from the Radiologist.

Whilst you are carrying notes, trying to scribble something legible, simultaneously updating your list, answering your bleep, wondering why the consultant is two patients ahead of you and what that smell is - you will have someone on the ward round say "order a CT" and they’ll be gone, moved on before you can write: obs stable, apyrexial.

Once the WR is done and you are the lucky one who gets to request the imaging take note - You don’t order imaging. This isn’t Nando's - you request it.

If you do not know why you’re ordering the test - ask a senior.  If they don’t know - ask their senior - this is vital and leads us to our next point -

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Radiology is art.

Here's some original X-ray art from Radiology Cafe.


Mixing paint

'Mixing paint' by Christopher Clarke

'Mixing paint' by Dr Christopher Clarke

A radiograph of an art palette. The differences in attenuation between different colours are clearly seen, with denser pigments appearing 'blacker'.

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Thoughts of an A&E doctor considering radiology.

Whilst doing a night shift in the emergency department, I was asked by one of the nurses to see a young man who presented with a swelling and disfigurement of his right shoulder after being involved in a fight.  Wondering how people can be so awake that they can fight at 3 am, I went to see the patient and found my colleague's description was indeed accurate.

The patient, who was not exactly sure how the injury happened, was holding his arm across his body and had a tender bulge at the front of his shoulder.  Everyone was convinced it was a case of anterior shoulder dislocation so we treated the pain and sent the patient for an x-ray.

Then came the surprise.  The shoulder joint was completely fine.  The head of the humerus was sitting nicely against the glenoid fossa on all shoulder views.  At this point, I winked at the radiographer and said “the beauty of radiology, is that it shows us the truth”.

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We have just finished uploading beautiful FRCR Physics notes to Radiology Cafe.

These notes are for those sitting the first FRCR physics exam and are based on, and cover, the entire scope of the RCR Radiology - integrated training initiative (R-ITI) e-learning upon which the first FRCR physics exams are based.  The notes are concise and comprehensive with plenty of beautiful diagrams to aid in understanding.  Each field of radiology physics is covered and separated into structured pages to make it easy to work through or to provide a quick point of reference for when you need to look something up.

Click here to visit the FRCR Physics notes


They were created by Dr Sarah Abdulla while an ST5 trainee at Norwich.  When she was revising for her FRCR physics exam she was frustrated with the lack of concise yet comprehensive notes written in a way she could easily understand.  This led to her creating her own notes and she realised that other might find these notes useful so decided to make them available online...   ...and now the notes have been moved to Radiology Cafe!

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There are many reasons to become (or not to become) a radiologist.  Here is one person's experience from the USA.

During the first two years of medical school, I shadowed many different physicians during my scarce free time, trying to figure out what I would like to do for the clinical half of my career. I enjoyed all my experiences, from paediatric gastroenterology, to anaesthetics, paediatric cardiology and adult cardiology to name a few. I did not, however, enjoy shadowing a radiologist. It was boring!

I did not, however, enjoy shadowing a radiologist. It was boring!

I took time out of medical school to undertake a PhD which involved lots of microscopy and some radiology. Unlike looking at cells under the microscope, radiology allowed me to look at the entire body. I knew that I wanted to be familiar with medical imaging techniques in the future for research purposes, but at this point I still held on to the notion that clinical radiology was boring!

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1600 First FRCR Anatomy mock exam questions uploaded!

I am delighted to reveal that 16 mock First FRCR anatomy exams are finally live on Radiology Cafe today to help trainees revising for the First FRCR exam.  This is a project I have been working on for some time (years in fact) so I am glad to finally upload something of some use to radiology trainees on Radiology Cafe!


Click here for Radiology Cafe's free mock anatomy exams

Quickly test yourself on 100's of mock exam questions

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Preparation is key!

The application

Clinical radiology is a competitive speciality.  In 2016 there were 963 applicants for 249 jobs in England, Scotland and Wales giving a competition ratio of 3.87:1.

Recruitment takes place from October each year (when the applications open) until the interviews in February.  Offers tend to be released within the first few weeks of March.  Applications are made through Oriel (online) and are a simple box ticking exercise, so as long as you've not made a mistake or picked the wrong box most people are longlisted and invited to sit the specialty recruitment assessment.


The SRA (Specialty Recruitment Assessment)

Due to increasing competition the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) have recently introduced a SRA which is an exam to be sat in the first two weeks of January.  In 2016, 286 applicants fell at this hurdle.

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