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I have an opportunity to do observerships with a few radiologists in the London and Kitchener-Waterloo area, but given how busy school has been so far, I'm wondering if this would be a good use of my time? What sort of things would I be doing in a rads observership? Just going based on my pre-conceived notions, it seems like I'll mainly be sitting in a chair and watching a screen, and maybe get to watch a few procedures? I have a few radiologists in my family, so given that I already know I'm interested in the field, are there any other advantages I'm missing?

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Well, observing the work is by definition what an observership is. A student (especially on elective) might also be provided with teaching files to review. 

The main advantage of shadowing in pre-clerkship is that you get to see the work environment and learn more about the career from direct interaction with physicians in that field. If you already have access to this, then don't go if you feel it won't be a good use of time - if any boredom or disinterest leaks through, it will make a negative impression. 

Although I'm usually a proponent of being proactive when it comes to career planning, it's still a bit early for networking, unless you are considering the field very highly and trying to make connections for a summer research project. 

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On 9/9/2019 at 10:45 PM, ysera said:

I have an opportunity to do observerships with a few radiologists in the London and Kitchener-Waterloo area, but given how busy school has been so far, I'm wondering if this would be a good use of my time? What sort of things would I be doing in a rads observership? Just going based on my pre-conceived notions, it seems like I'll mainly be sitting in a chair and watching a screen, and maybe get to watch a few procedures? I have a few radiologists in my family, so given that I already know I'm interested in the field, are there any other advantages I'm missing?

Your preconceived notions are 100% correct. A radiology observership is possibly the most passive observership you could do (and observerships are very passive already). If you just want to see what radiology is like, IMO you are better off doing the observership at your main academic sites (University Hospital or Victoria Hospital). If you know those KW radiologists personally then maybe it would be fun since they can interact with you in between cases.

The more you understand, the more interesting it is, so it is actually probably best if you shadow a resident taking an ER call shift since ED scans tend to be ordered for more common diseases (e.g. chest film for pneumonia, CT head for stroke, CT abdomen for appendicitis, trauma cases). The only downside is that during a busy call shift they may not be able to speak to you at all, though you'll probably be free to leave at any time you want. If you want to see procedures just shadow an interventional radiologist who will be doing those all day.

If you don't want to do a call shift, at Western they have some teaching files sometimes elective students can go through on a spare workstation during the day.

Despite the passive nature, for me I could tell that I'd enjoy being in the hot seat making the big decisions. Prior to doing my radiology shadowing I had already been in the ED and saw how radiology reads often determined care for patients with acute disease. IR also gives the option to jump into a procedural specialty should it be desired.

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