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Why I Became a Radiologist

Why I Became a Radiologist

Today is the first International Day of Radiology, an initiative aimed at calling attention to radiology’s valuable contribution to patient care. The day, which marks the 117th anniversary of the discovery of the X-ray, is being organized by the ACR, ECR, and RSNA as a day of action and awareness. 

To recognize International Day of Radiology, we asked radiologists why they chose this specialty. The following are their responses. We welcome your insights in the comments section.

“I can’t for the life of me understand why everyone doesn’t want to be a radiologist.” 

I said it again yesterday. I’ve said it over and over for as many years as I can remember every time a new medical student or clinical resident comes on my service.

It got me to thinking about why I chose radiology on the first place. I was tremendously influenced by an energetic, dynamic attending when I did a third year clerkship at a crossroads in my career path choice. This specialty was exciting with requisite knowledge of all kinds of diseases in all kinds of patients of all ages.

These rads were the ultimate detectives figuring out what was wrong with people when others were challenged. They could actually see inside patients in a manner no others could. It was fun to come to work (or school) as a radiologist. I had never experienced that before and I wanted that feeling for the rest of my career.

Now it’s all about staying a radiologist. My gosh, could any specialty be any better? I think not! We have the most dynamic specialty there is. We experience patients on a cyberspace level unlike any other. We interact with colleagues in the most cerebral, intellectually stimulating way possible. We get to tell them what is wrong (or right) with their patients without having to deal with the challenges posed by directly caring for those same patients, so that we can go on and solve other issues for other physicians, and so on.

I still for the life of cannot understand why everyone doesn’t want to be a radiologist, but boy am I glad they don’t.

— Ken Keller, MD, FACR, medical director of the Department of Radiology at Trinity Health in Minot, ND

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