So you’re eager to sign up for a radiology rotation,
But there is no radiology department at your school. What now?
Ask your school or upperclassmen where students have recently done radiology rotations. Sometimes, your school can help facilitate scheduling the rotation. Other times, you will have to set the rotation up yourself using recent preceptors as a lead.
Clinician Nexus and VSLO
These websites provide rotation opportunities nationally for interested students. Start planning early! Applications open between February-May, varying for each program. Most of these rotations are for 4th-year students but some accept 3rd-years. Call/e-mail to confirm if you are able to participate as a 3rd year. My advice for getting the rotations you want is to prepare your applications in advance! Get your LORs in early and other application items in on time. It is KEY to apply for these rotations as early as possible, especially if you are trying to get a rotation in June/July. These spots will fill up fast!
Uh, oh! Your dream program isn’t on either of these websites. What do you do?
Contact the program coordinator, they are your best friend. Some programs have rotations available that are not on VSLO/Clinician Nexus or offer observerships. Even shadowing for a few days can be beneficial if you’re really interested in the program. You can find program coordinator contact information on residency websites.
Still no luck? Try reaching out to radiologists directly.
Be professional about this. You can find radiologists in many ways including: doximity, twitter, or simply calling the practices directly. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to physicians from other rotations associated with your program. They might know local radiologists. Lastly, during your inpatient rotations, try to talk to radiologists at the hospital and ask if they might be able to host you for a rotation. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back!
Congratulations, you found a rotation! Now you can relax, right?
Make a good impression! DR rotations can be difficult because you’re looking over the radiologist's shoulder all day. Be engaged and ask questions. Feel the dynamic of the room and see how you get along with the other residents. A huge part of radiology is the dynamic in the reading room.
Look for research opportunities. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved in a project and become more involved in radiology. Find a research mentor before you get to the rotation or ask around while you’re rotating. If you see an interesting case, ask if you can write a case report. This is also a great way to build connections in the institution you’re rotating in.
Attend didactics. This can be a great way for you to learn more about the field and also meet more people in the department. If you’re really interested in a program, sometimes you can continue attending the didactics virtually.
Do a presentation during didactics. A lot of the time this is required, but if not you can always ask to present. If you’re genuinely interested in radiology and education this can impress the program. It can also be a great way to meet other faculty and residents and get your name out there. Additionally, it can go on your CV and strengthen your application.
Make connections. At the end of the day, the more people you can meet the better. You want to make sure the program does not forget you and wants you there. Don’t be afraid to reach out to faculty if you’re interested in learning more about their work or want a mentor. You never know what can happen!
Don't forget to have fun. This is one of the most exciting times in medical school. Try to be present and enjoy this part of the journey.