At the ST1 clinical radiology interview there are marks specifically allocated to demonstrating a commitment to the specialty. A taster week is a great way to guarantee a few marks, but make sure you at least do a full week if possible.
Why do a taster week?
Apart from gaining extra marks for the interview, it allows you to experience how a department runs, engage with current registrars and ask them their reasons for choosing radiology. You can observe consultants' roles which extend beyond the obvious clinical demands, as well as gain first hand experience in basic reporting.
How do I organise a taster week?
Honestly, all radiologists would love anyone who takes an interest in their specialty. They would delight in helping you in organising a taster week. Approach a radiology consultant either in person or perhaps email their secretaries. I'm sure most consultants would prefer a face to face introduction first and would probably be surprised that you're not requesting a scan!
How do I get the most out of the taster week?
Simple. The best way would be to come up with an agreed plan with the supervising consultant/registrar.
- Expose yourself to multiple modalities - plain radiographs, CT, MRI, USS, fluoroscopy and intervention.
- Practise reporting a few of the scans with the consultant/registrar next to you.
- Watch how to protocol/prioritise a scan and emulate if appropriate.
- Make a note of any specific experiences that you could potentially bring up at interview n the future. It's easy to forget what you did during your taster week so write it down at the time. You could even submit it as one of those dreaded 'reflections' in your portfolio. e.g. I had the opportunity to... attend MDTs...
- Chat with registrars about their interview experience. They'll have loads to share and remember they will have just gone through the recruitment process themselves. They are your greatest asset!
- Discuss with consultants about the future of radiology.
- Perform a radiological audit.
- You MUST get a signed letter to demonstrate your taster week in radiology.
Share your experience
It would be brilliant if you could share your taster week experience with us at Radiology Cafe. We may even publish it on this website (with your permission of course)! Send us a short overview of your experience via our contact us page and we'll get back to you within a few days. If you would rather email us, then let us know (again, via the the contact us page) and we'll get in touch with you.
This article was written by Dr Andrew Koo, an ST3 Clinical Radiology Trainee at Leeds Teaching Hospitals at time of publishing.