Melissa M. Chen, MD
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a radiologist?
It was yet another late night at work in the early summer of 2003. I was in my second year as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan, when I decided to switch careers. I had essentially been on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for two years, and the lack of meaning in the work that I was doing finally caught up to me.
My father is an anesthesiologist. I had often followed him to work when I was a child, so medicine was not a complete unknown to me. I had many doubts at the time of my decision. Would I be accepted to medical school? How would this decision affect my personal life? (I was single with no children at the time.) What aspects of medicine would I enjoy?
I find meaning in patient interactions and cases in which I can impact care.
Although it has been a long road, I have never regretted my decision to leave the financial industry. I feel fortunate to work in an environment that affords me the ability to see patients and work collaboratively with clinicians across all disciplines. Despite the pressures to be both clinically and academically productive, I find meaning in patient interactions and cases in which I can impact care.
I have also been fortunate to find a second home in volunteering my limited time with the ACR Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care and the American Society of Neuroradiology Economics Committee. My previous work experience has taught me about the importance of finding passion in the work that I do, which will hopefully sustain me through the ups and downs of the constantly changing healthcare environment.
Melissa M. Chen, MD, is a clinical neuroradiologist in the department of diagnostic radiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.