Getting involved as a junior doctor
Here we outline the best ways for junior doctors to get involved with interventional radiology & IR Juniors. Foundation training is a common time for people to interact more with the radiology & interventional radiology department, and many current interventional radiology trainees chose to pursue the specialty at this point in their training.
Get involved with your local IR department
During your foundation/clinical placements, most of you will be on a job that has some contact with the interventional radiology department. This is a great time to introduce yourself to the team, make yourself known and get involved with the activities.
Discuss your team's IR referrals. A great way to increase your exposure to interventional radiology is by offering to discuss your team's IR requests yourself. This way, you can meet the IR team but also having these discussions helps you to understand more about how IR is involved in the patient's journey. Another great way to get involved with the IR team is to go with your patient and stay/scrub for the case - if your ward is not too busy!
Audit Projects. Most junior doctors have to undertake an audit each year. Why not make this one related to IR? Most specialties will have an interventional procedure that is potentially auditable e.g. nephrostomy in Urology, cholecystostomy for general surgery. The audit can be run as a joint initiative between your team and the radiology department, with you leading this collaboration!
Taster Weeks. Taster weeks are the best way to gain clinical experience in the department, and are essential for applications. Radiology taster weeks are getting more and more popular, so it's important to plan and ask early!
Know the application process for specialty training
Familiarise yourself with the recruitment stages and dates. Currently, recruitment is run for Clinical Radiology and not specifically IR. This is done by the Royal College of Radiologists, and the process runs every year starting in September. Familiarise yourself with the process reading the articles on the RCR website and IR Juniors pages.
This is due to change, with direct IR entry planned in the near future.
Prepare your portfolio. Radiology is becoming increasingly competitive each year, with the 2021 application having 4.75 applicants per place (link). It is important to prepare your CV/portfolio as early as you can. There are multiple domains that are scored, with each one having different requirements for achieving maximum points. Ensure that you read up on these descriptions early on, and prepare your portfolio well in advance.
Take part in interventional radiology research
Find a research mentor. Many IR departments across the country will be looking for juniors to join research projects. We are developing a research map of academically-interested IR consultants who are keen to mentor juniors on research.
Collaborative Research. The UNITE collaborative is a joint research collaborative run by IRJ and BSIRT who run multi-centre audit projects. We actively encourage juniors to be local collaborators for these projects. Taking part is a great way to get involved in multi-centre projects, as well as work towards publications/presentations for your CV. If you have an idea for a national audit project, get in touch with us - this will be reviewed by the UNITE team & advisors and we will see whether we can run it with you!
Academic Careers. IR Juniors wants to support any medical students/juniors who want an academic career. We maintain a website section dedicated to academic career options, including the academic foundation programme (AFP), academic clinical fellowships (ACF) as well as research opportunities.
Join national committees
Joining a national radiology or IR trainee committee is a great way to meet other people across the country who are passionate about the field. Within IR, there are opportunities for foundation doctors to join the BSIR Trainee committee as well as IR Juniors. The BSIRT runs annual elections for the trainee committee. IR Juniors recruits on an ongoing basis, with formal recruitment for the core committee planned for 2022.