During my time at my externship, I asked the doctors to focus on the things I felt I was weak in and ask questions based off that information. One of those areas of particular interest/weakness was radiology.
Although I did have a radiology course (and I did pretty well), I still feel extremely weak in reading/interpreting x-rays. For every set of x-rays that was taken, there was a doctor there to ask me “Ok, what do you see?”
What it really goes back to is a strong basis of normal versus abnormal. Fractures are easy enough to identify (unless they’re tiny), but what about the position of certain structures? Lucencies? Sizes of organs? That can be a little trickier.
What I learned is that at the very least, I can tell when something is “wrong,” although sometimes I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is. I know it sounds weird, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at an x-ray and said to myself “hmm, that’s not right.” Unfortunately, I’ll have to do a little better than pinpointing a structure and saying it looks off.
Doing an externship is a great way to find out what you really know and what you really don’t, because in all honesty it’s possible to be asked anything based on what walks in the door.
When I get back to school, my next rotation is radiology with a board-certified radiologist. I’ll definitely be setting aside some time to brush up on the normal (and of course, the terminology…after all we are training to be doctors). Hopefully it will make for a smoother time when school starts again!