So you want to be a radiologist? Hopefully you’ve read the first document on what it takes and are not put off by it!
(If you are interested in what it's actually like then have a look at the blog. I've been updating it fairly regularly to try and give anyone interested an honest look at what it's been like during my training....and beyond)
So, you’ll need to a be aware of training and it what it entails:
ST1 (clinical radiology 1st Year) – Life as a first year can be a little daunting at first. This can vary depending on what level you are coming in at. Those of you that are registrars coming into radiology this can feel like a massive step down. You go from making important decisions and having a fair amount of knowledge/ expertise in your field to having next to nothing in all respects. You sit there shadowing seniors and clinicians watching them go about their day to day business. It’s like watching paint dry. During this year (in most places) you are not on call. Some trusts may make you take the in coming requests and others may make you shadow on calls. Some places don’t put you on the rota at all and thus make you unbanded (give you basic pay), which can be quite a hit to the finances. During this year you will be taking the FRCR Part 1 exams – which are the Physics module and the Anatomy Module (this will be covered in a later section). The ST1 year is a very steep learning curve and this can be daunting at time. Remember to hang in there. It will get better!
ST2-ST3 (clinical radiology 2nd year onwards) – You’ve passed the FRCR Part 1! You’ll never have to look at the physics again. The anatomy will come up in your day to day life from this day forth. If you don’t like anatomy- why are you becoming a radiologist in the first place?! You’ll hopefully be on call by now (more on this in a separate section).
Now you’ll be embarking on the FRCR Part A exams (more on this on a different section). FRCR Part A is made up of two papers that are sat on the same day. Soooo basically two 3 hour exam papers...yes that's a 6 hour assessment.
It used to be that you sat each system separately. Now you are 'gifted' 40 questions from each of the 6 subspecialties:
- Cardiothoracic and Vascular
- MSKand Trauma
- GU, O & G and Breast
- CNS and Head & Neck
In all honesty...the 2as were a massive sticking point for me. I really struggled with them and in fact it did hinder my training a fair bit to keep having to do these. So be prepared. Hopefully you are really good at exams and you'll breeze through them.
ST3 – ST5 (clinical radiology 3rd year onwards) – You’ll have completed your FRCR Part A. Well done! Now you’ll be embarking on the big one. Part 2Bare made up of 3parts: a rapid reporting session, a ‘long case’ reporting session and an oral examination.
Rapid reporting Session: 30 cases (similar to those found in a typical A&E or GP-referral pile) to be reported in 35 minutes.
Reporting Session: is 60 minutes long and you are expected to write a report or discuss six cases. These could be anything from CT to MRI to X-rays.
Oral examination: Two 15-minute vivas. Each one with a pair of consultant radiologist examiners (who are hopefully nice!).
Part 2B can be sat once you have passed part 2A and completed at least 30 months of radiology training. It is expected that you will have achieved your FRCR by the end of ST4.
The FRCR 2B exams will hopefully the last exam you’ll ever sit in your life!
At some point (just before or after these) you’ll be asked what you would like to specialise in. This will enable you to cater your training towards whatever it is that floats your boat! If you are a cross sectional kind of person, then your deanery should have a programme catered for you. If not they should be able to cater something for you to optimise your training in that field.
Interventional Radiology training can add up to 1 or 2 more years to your training. There’s also those few who decide they want to gain more experience in a certain field, who then go on to do a fellowship.
They have recently decided to try and siphon people off to certain 'in demand' subspecialities. So unfortunately you'll have to apply via a competitive process. When I know more I will update this page more.
By the way If one wants they can take on training abroad (in an approved institute) or simply take some ‘out of programme experience’. These are just some of the ways training can be extended.