Father Knows Best? Medical School Student Leaning Toward Radiology

Father Knows Best? Medical School Student Leaning Toward Radiology

By Aadya Kaushik

My father, a rheumatologist, guessed my medical specialty prior to my starting the first week of medical school: “My bet’s on radiology.” Not knowing much about the field, I told him I would keep that in mind and focused on my preclinical studies.

Aadya Kaushik is a rising fourth-year medical student at Albany Medical College.
Aadya Kaushik is a rising fourth-year medical student at Albany Medical College.

During my first year, I fell in love with the anatomy lab and dissection. I envisioned myself wielding a scalpel and standing in the operating room, moving plane by plane, and finding and fixing a patient’s problem. I spent extra time with anatomy textbooks, translating the diagrams on the page to the human body. Radiologic imaging had not entered my field of vision.

It is not normal to start the third year of medical school with a vacation block. I had all but decided that I wanted to go into a surgical field and had placed that a few blocks into my schedule. I decided I wanted to ease my way into clinical rotations with vacation followed by a radiology rotation. I had minimal exposure to radiology and figured it would be a nice introduction to starting rotations. As I went through my radiology clerkship, I realized how critical a radiologist is to patient care. I was now seeing the anatomy I had enjoyed learning in the form of x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. On my internal medicine clerkship, I learned how to decide when clinical symptoms best call for imaging, and which is best to use to find if a problem exists.

I ended up thoroughly enjoying my surgery clerkship, being able to work on my anatomical knowledge and see results in real time. I was amazed by how the orthopedic surgeons were able to take x-ray images in real time to visualize what their next step would be, and by how general surgeons would use imaging to formulate a plan for a surgery in an anatomically complex patient. The imaging would confirm, deny, or reveal a problem, and that would determine the patient’s next step in care.

By the spring of my third year, I noticed a theme. An OB/GYN attending joked that it seemed like I was vying for the ultrasound technologist’s job, and I noticed I was looking for reasons to speak with radiologists who were reading MRIs from the stroke unit on neurology. I had many questions about the modalities and methods used to image what we needed to see, and it was exciting to dive into the wealth of knowledge that radiologists of each subspecialty have.

I hope that radiology exposure soon occurs even earlier in medical school, because it is truly at the heart of patient care. The intersection of radiology and other medical specialties is what has made me want to delve deeper into the field. We will find out in the next year whether my father’s bet on my specialty comes true, but I know for certain that I will be spending time in the reading room.

Aadya Kaushik is a rising fourth-year medical student at Albany Medical College. She grew up in Loudonville, New York, earned her bachelor’s degree in behavioral neuroscience at Northeastern University and her master’s degree in bioethics at the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, supporting live music, and playing with her puppy, Sooji. You can follow her on Twitter @AadyaKaushik.

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