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Training women in radiology

Training seems like the logical first step in any number of careers. It can come from a classroom setting, as it does for careers that require a degree, or it can be more hands-on, as it is for factory workers. It can even be a mix of classroom and real-life situations, which is incredibly common as someone progresses further into their career. Because training is such an important part of moving forward with a career, people often seek out opportunities to learn more. In quite a few careers, the person's training can come from a mix of educational, physical, and situational occurrences.

Educational training

Educational training can come from one's school days or it can come from formal training sessions throughout their career. Many women enroll in medical school each year, making up a large portion of the future healthcare workforce. Unfortunately, a significantly smaller portion will enter radiology roles for a few different reasons. Those who are interested in radiology from the beginning may not get the chance to experience certain aspects of radiology during their schooling.1 This is because some residency programs and medical schools do not expose their students to radiology as much as they do other branches of medicine. Additionally, those who decide to specialize in radiology, especially those who are part of a minority group or who are women, may not have a large number of mentors that are available.2,3

In the case where there is not an easily accessible mentor for students, they may find support online or through their on-the-job training.3 At this point, many women look for mentors and support from other women online, as well as in person. By doing this, they may end up connecting with others in similar situations. These mentors may be academic, including teachers and researchers. Academic mentors allow students to continue learning through their mentors experiences and their own. The mentors may also recommend certain things that the student should look at. Mentors may also inform their mentees of roles and openings in a wider variety of fields.

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Situational training

Situational training can come from a couple of different places. Physicians may learn treatment options for unusual situations by experiencing the situation themselves, or they may learn them from hearing from other physicians who had similar experiences. One excellent way for this to occur is through the use of different conferences. 4

A large group of female physicians recently met to discuss their experiences and learn more about their field in New York. Throughout this meeting, these women were able to network and sympathize with each other.4 Stories and questions were aimed to aid in the learning process, helping to train the physicians in a less-than-usual way. According to one of organizers, it seemed that the women were more willing to ask questions because of the fact that the conference was attended by only women. Often, employees learn from their own experiences and mistakes. Because these experiences are specific to the employee and the situation they were in, others may not learn from them. However, if a story is memorable enough or is something that can be related to, it can also help to inform others in similar situations.

Some of the stories told at this conference and others like it can be used to train physicians in situations that they may not face in the classroom, or even in their own departments.4 Certain areas of the country may be more likely to encounter issues that can be related to different sports. For example, physicians in northern states, like Wisconsin or Minnesota, may commonly run into injuries regarding winter sports than those in southern states. If the doctors from the northern states describe the injuries and signs that they treat, it could help to prepare the physicians from the more southern states. This can also be applied to illnesses common in certain areas, which could become more prevalent in the rest of the country. Training in its traditional sense may not include these sorts of meetings, but conferences like this could aid many physicians in the future.

As women in medical school look toward their future careers, they should think about the types of educational and situational training that each career path will take them through. They may find mentors at their own schools or through other methods, like social media and academic conversations. They may find themselves attending conferences and learning through situations that they or someone they know has faced, which could in turn help others in the field. Overall, it is clear that continued training may help to make radiology departments, and their employees, more accessible and prepared.

References

1. Meridith J. Englander. "Women Can Lead the Way for the Future of Interventional Radiology." Endovascular Today. January 2018; 17(1): 78-80. Web. 4 June 2019.

2. Nandita M. deSouza. "Women in Academic Radiology." AAWR.org. Web. 5 June 2019 <https://www.aawr.org/Portals/10/About/WomenAcademicRadiology.pdf>.

3. Janet Bickel. "Career Development as a Long-distance Hike." JGIM. Web. 5 June 2019. <https://www.aawr.org/Portals/10/About/CareerDevelopmentLong-distance.pdf>.

4. Ruth Gotian and Rache Simmon. "What Happens When Female Physicians Gather?" Scientific American. 2 April 2019. Web. 5 June 2019.