This a question often asked. Should I do the MRCS? MRCP? both? or neither?
The only real answer is…it’s really up to you. If you are not coming in straight from FY2 then I would advise that you should. If you are coming in from FY2 then I would say that it wouldn’t hurt you application. Undoubtedly it’ll make you seem more studious!
It wasn’t that long ago that if one wanted to get into radiology one would have to have done further surgical/medical training. So there is that element still left in the profession. It also helps you to score points in the portfolio station of the interview. As getting a radiology number becomes more competitive, you’ll need every point you can get.
This almost falls hand in hand with whether you should apply to radiology from the outset or should do something else first, be it surgery or medicine. With regards to the job itself, it will help if you have had some more experience in clinical medicine. Especially when it comes to advice on management plans, as it’s likely you will have managed similar patients yourself before.
Having said this coming in from FY2 onwards does not mean you won’t be able to acquire the same kind of knowledge base as everyone else. After all, as long as you pass the exams and manage the same competencies as everyone else, it doesn’t really matter what you did first…you’ll be a radiology consultant one day. Often you’ll find a Radiology consultant with a specialist interest in musculoskeletal radiology who in a previous life was a medical registrar. There is no link between the two. His/her experience as a medic doesn’t really help when describing the fracture or the spinal tumour. The two specialties are not inherently related, so in the long run it does not really matter.
Arguably an FY2 could argue that they did not need to do more clinical years to get to the conclusion that clinical medicine is not for them. You’d be in open competition with everyone else and someone deciding on a career in medicine/surgery straight after FY2 is pretty much the same thing as choosing radiology so early on. Having said this if you are not fortunate enough to get a place straight away, then you have to be willing to do core training in other specialties before re-applying. It’s a path many have had to tread, and they have done so successfully, so don’t be put off if this happens to you!
So all in all…membership exams? It’s up to you. It wouldn’t hurt your application to have done post graduate exams. It won’t hurt your chances that you may have undertaken training in a different specialty before. In some ways it may help you, but it’s not a prerequisite to getting a place over an FY2 doctor. There are growing number of FY2 doctors getting a radiology number, but they are usually the types who know exactly what they want from very early on and have worked on their CVs accordingly.