By Raghavendiran Boopathy, PhD; Malcolm Heard, PhD; and James A Tanyi, PhD
In our professional lives, we all have had moments where we wished we had done things or approached problems differently. In writing this article, our purpose is to give a perspective for the future generation looking to make an impact in medical physics.
Start building your network pool early in your career, with talent from different fields and facets of life.
Be a multidimensional physicist
An exciting aspect of our field is the ability to work in various specialty areas (diagnostic, therapeutic, nuclear, and/or health physics) in public sector, private practice, academia, or the industry. People are often interested in more than one area, so do not feel pressured to limit your options.
Find a mentor
Identify the right mentor who can help provide support and act as an unbiased sounding board and resource. The mentor does not need to be another physicist. Furthermore, you do not need to have just one mentor.
Research and get published
Whether your environment is purely clinical, academic, or industry-related, set periodic goals to submit manuscripts for publication and/or abstracts to professional meetings.
Consider participating in professional committees, serving as a reviewer for journals, engaging in interinstitutional scholastic programs, etc. Be involved on the grassroots level (high school/undergraduate/graduate students).
Expand your horizons
Be actively involved in interdepartmental/interinstitutional journal club discussions for a broader brain spectrum. Develop a habit of writing questions and appreciation notes to authors and editors on articles of interest.
Build strong vendor relationships
Working in tandem with vendors creates opportunities for innovation. Hosting webinars or talks with vendors and conducting collaborative workshops brings value to clinics and institutions.
Participate in professional meetings
Being part of society meetings provides opportunities to engage and collaborate for professional/personal growth.
Regardless of the magnitude of task or challenge, believe in yourself, accept the challenge, and use your professional and personal resources to the fullest.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Though balancing personal and professional life can be challenging, it is essential. If you are happy at home, you will do your best at work and vice versa.