By Robert Martin, MPH
With the heart-pounding excitement of National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match Week 2023 in the near past and bright futures ahead, this is a time of calm before the storm.
The storm takes different form for different people, but in this highly competitive year, diagnostic radiology has left a wake of disorientation. According to Radiology Business and NRMP data, diagnostic radiology had 2,054 applicants for 1,176 offered positions. All available spots were filled, a result seen in only three other specialties this cycle.1 One question moving forward for those who didn’t match is: “What do I do next?”
One way I chose to answer this question was by networking, starting in the virtual space. For many people in medical school and their professional lives, using Twitter and other social media platforms to network can be an uncertain activity. For example, as a first-generation college graduate and medical student, I had been accustomed to doing everything on my own. Further, it is difficult to ask for help in medicine when we are expected to know and have the skills to do everything, even in training.
However, Twitter has become a great space where you can message residency program administration and faculty to get feedback. Many people in the field use social media for medical education and networking. Continual engagement with program-specific specialties can show interest and engagement with program directors, assistant program directors, program faculty, and radiology residents.2 One study reported that 62% of radiology residencies are active on Twitter.3 This is all encouragement for unmatched and future applicants to radiology to get on the platform.
For those without a home radiology residency program, Twitter is a fantastic place to find mentors for residency. Many radiologists are open to interacting on the platform and have been incredibly helpful to people trying to move forward and prepare for the next cycle. Dr. Omer Awan has a phenomenal YouTube channel linked to his Twitter along with Dr. Puneet Bhargava, who has a fantastic YouTube channel offering everything from interview preparation to formulating a strong research submission. They are a couple of examples of the many radiologists open to direct messages on Twitter and willing to mentor applicants.
Twitter can also be a great source of research ideas to help you keep a pulse on the climate of interesting radiology topics. Many applicants need further research opportunities to improve their application and show continued interest in the field. Sometimes it can be difficult to find topics for independent research projects. Twitter offers fantastic opportunities to identify topics to pursue. Many researchers will even post open research positions or share their own research.
“What do I do next?” is an incredibly variable question when you are applying to the competitive field of radiology. But applicants and reapplicants can use social media platforms to engage with the community of radiologists at large as a safe space for direct feedback and mentorship. Applicants can further educate themselves through educational Twitter pages and YouTube channels to improve their application and identify interesting research opportunities. There are many ways for applicants to move forward with Twitter that can be tailored to an applicant’s needs.
Robert Martin, MPH, is a fourth-year medical student at Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine who will be an incoming transitional year resident at Inspira Health-Mullica Hill. Robert has a passion for public health and sociodemographic factors related to radiology. His interests include woodworking, carpentry, and spending time with his fiancée, three dogs, and newborn twin girls. Follow Robert on Twitter @Robert_Martin22
- Another ‘record’ Match Day, with strong interest in diagnostic and interventional radiology. Accessed April 1, 2023. https://radiologybusiness.com/topics/healthcare-management/healthcare-staffing/match-day-strong-interest-diagnostic
- Patel S, Murugesan A, Lau A, Bhargava P. How to effectively leverage Twitter as a medical student. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2022;51(6):815-817. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36175302/
- Murugesan A, Patel S, Bhargava P, Cooke EA. Utilization of social media platforms in diagnostic radiology residency programs in the United S Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35965151/