Finding My Specialty

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Having had minimal exposure to radiology during my preclinical years, it was a specialty that I wasn’t even considering beginning my MS3 clinical rotations.

I was midway through MS3 year on surgery rotation working in the trauma bay, studying for the shelf exam, and trying to decide if I was destined to pursue a medical or surgical residency pathway. My resident asked me to accompany her to the IR suite because she needed to check on a patient undergoing a procedure. I had no idea what IR did but knew we consulted them often, so I figured it was worth seeing.

Unbeknownst to me, I was going to walk into that room and fall in love with imaging. I was struggling to choose between medicine and surgery, when in fact my true passion was a field I had minimal previous exposure to and no intention of pursuing until I happened upon it by chance.

I followed up on this realization by meeting with our school’s residency program director to discuss my fit in the field. I spent time in the reading room for further exposure. I postponed one of my core clerkships to do a radiology rotation early to confirm that this was the right career for me. 

Radiology requires a broad knowledge base in all fields of medicine while incorporating the imaging that intrigues my highly visual learning style. Reflecting on this experience makes me realize how incredible it is that such a small and seemingly unimportant moment like that would change the course of my future career.

MichaelHankins By Michael J. Hankins, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

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