A Resident's Perspective

The radiology residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School offers strong academic training in Diagnostic Radiology, in a supportive environment and in a community with extracurricular activities that can appeal to most anyone. As a residency applicant looking at a career in radiology, it’s often difficult to gauge a program simply through a brief visit or short conversations with staff and residents. For those of you interested in pursuing a career in radiology, we offer this as a look at our residency from a resident's perspective.

The radiology residency is housed on the campus of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia - a campus it shares with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the tertiary referral hospital for a community of 1.6 million people and a Level 1 trauma center, and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, the only free-standing pediatric hospital in the state of Virginia. The campus is located near the Elizabeth River, within a beautiful and historic residential section of Norfolk known as Ghent. Many medical residents live in Ghent, and take advantage of the fine restaurants and art galleries in the area. Others choose to live in the suburbs of the surrounding cities in Hampton Roads, with amenities of suburban living.

The radiology residency matches four individuals in each class, for a total of sixteen residents, including two chiefs. The residents have their own conference room, call room, library, computer room, and chief's office.  With no regular fellows, there is constant interaction directly with the outstanding staff throughout each day.  The smaller size of the program clearly allows more frequent opportunities for one-to-one teaching with the staff.

The new first-year radiology residents start their residency with ample exposure to six core radiology disciplines: plain radiography, neuro CT, body CT, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopic imaging. Didactic lectures and case conferences each day help the new resident assimilate the large volume of new material. Lectures in emergency radiology are given throughout the first year, and are tailored to teach the critical findings and management of cases typically seen in an emergency room or trauma setting. The new first-year residents take no solo call, but do participate in "buddy call" with a senior level resident towards the end of their first year.

The bulk of the call is handled in a night float system, with residents covering two hospitals overnight for six nights in a row. Our call can be intense at times, but there are always attending radiologists available to support you should you need help. The process of managing multiple traumas with two busy EDs would perhaps never be called fun, but it is often deeply satisfying to work with the residents in other fields of medicine on tough cases overnight, leaving in the morning feeling like you have helped make a critical difference in the care of a patient. Call responsibilities are weighted toward the second year of residency, so that senior residents can shift their attention and energies toward board preparation.

Rotations are mostly fixed for the first year, allowing the resident to get solid exposure to the core radiology disciplines. Substantial elective time is built in during your third and fourth years. With only four residents per year, a significant amount of rotation flexibility allows the schedule to be tailored to the resident's area of interest.   Further, with no regular fellows at our primary hospitals, the options for 3 or 6 month "mini-fellowships" during the fourth year of residency will be abundant with the transition to the new Core exam testing schedule.

The average day starts at 7:00 AM with morning conference, typically didactic, with residents reporting to their clinical rotation afterwards. The day typically ends around 5:00 PM, with an hour for noon case conference.

Procedure competency is a real strength of this residency, with most residents feeling completely comfortable doing ultrasound- and CT-guided biopsies, drainages, and tube placements, a myriad of vascular procedures, myelography and lumbar punctures, joint injections and aspirations, and hysterosalpingograms by the end of their second year. Attending radiologists provide close supervision of procedures initially, then allow the resident more autonomy as he or she becomes more confident.

One of the impressive aspects of the residency is the visiting professor program. Six times a year a radiologist noted for teaching in their specialty is invited to spend the day with the residents. All residents are excused from their clinical duties on these days. Lectures are typically didactic and case-oriented, and these days provide a great chance to get exposure to other programs as well as new or developing modalities. Residents join the guest professor for lunch, and often for dinner at a nice restaurant in our community the night before. This allows the residents a real opportunity to socialize with academic leaders from around the country who are making significant contributions to the field of radiology.

The attending radiologists at EVMS are superb - they are bright and dedicated people and well-respected by the clinicians they serve. The great majority are fellowship-trained from outstanding programs all over the country, and enjoy teaching. Perhaps as important, they are very approachable. The work environment at any of the rotation settings is consistently positive, with residents enjoying a congenial relationship with support staff and faculty. Residents at EVMS do well on the boards and in obtaining fellowships, and graduate prepared for the rigors of private practice or fellowship alike.

We have enjoyed our time at EVMS, and the process of becoming a radiologist. We also find the campus at EVMS and the Hampton Roads area to be a beautiful environment in which to train. We wish you the best in your search for a program that fits your needs, and success in becoming a radiologist.

Sincerely,

EVMS Chief Residents