Q: Why did you choose the imaging specialty?
As a medical student, I didn’t receive much exposure to radiology except for short bursts on various non-radiology rotations. To be honest, my understanding of the role of a radiologist was very limited and perhaps naïve. I initially selected otolaryngology, but after two years of residency, I acknowledged that my fascination truly centered on the anatomy, the diagnosis, and the pathology. I appreciated these facets more than the joy of operating.
A career change was evident, but what specialty would allow me to really focus my concentration on anatomy yet still see patients, perform procedures, and have a direct impact on patient care? Radiology was the clear choice, a whole realm of medicine I had somehow overlooked during medical school but became increasingly dependent on during residency. I realized in monthly Head & Neck Radiology Rounds, led by my now-mentor Joseph M. Hoxworth, MD, that radiology was really where my passion lay. Furthermore, few surgeries are performed without pre-operative imaging for planning purposes. How amazing that one can look inside the body without invasive measures!
Today, the aspects of radiology that I find most rewarding are the constant evolution from technologic advances, the breadth of pathologic processes to understand and recognize, and the personal satisfaction of helping guide patients through an inherently difficult time. This special patient-doctor relationship is what I find most satisfying.
Courtney Tomblinson, MD, resident at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.