May 30, 2023

YPS Chair 2023 Spring Update

Ivan M. DeQuesada II, MD

Spring is the perfect time of year for the ACR Annual Meeting. It’s a time to reflect on recent successes and to be hopeful about future challenges. Trainees and early career radiologists enjoy many unique encounters at this meeting … as leaders of various groups and academic programs from all over the country descend in one place to work toward the future of our profession. It’s an incredible collection of wisdom and experience.

I’ve noticed a few common threads woven into my conversations with YPS members this past year. The current job market, for one, is excellent for radiologists, and we’ve enjoyed renewed competitive interest in our training programs. Opportunities abound for radiologists looking for a change. If you are ready to do something different, now is a better time than ever to start your pursuit.

But for those intent on staying put, it’s an entirely different picture, featuring the all-too-common pattern of fewer people to handle increasing volumes and even successful practices are challenged with maintaining the status quo. It’s both the best of times and the worst of times when viewed through different lenses.

Due to changing practice models in radiology, radiologists are demanding part-time or remote positions more frequently, with success. Some are even earning partnerships in these roles. Groups are now tasked with confronting the changing landscape as they struggle to optimize workflow with high-quality reports and reasonable turnaround times. The disparate valuation of on-site versus remote work is one of the more common discussions over the past year.

And finally, this leads to the discussion of burnout. As physicians, we are accustomed to pushing ourselves beyond our health limits. Throughout our many years of education and training, we woke up early and stayed up late. We sacrificed personal enjoyment and wellness for a better tomorrow — the ability to practice in the profession of our choice. Burnout is the pernicious but expected outcome of all those years working to engender success in one context, only to find our own destruction in another. Many discussions among early career radiologists center on the question of balancing self-sacrifice with self-actualization.

It’s been a privilege to serve as the YPS Chair this past year, and I wish the best to anyone reading my final update. At this relatively nascent time in your career, attaining wisdom at an accelerated pace will help you avoid the mistakes of others and enjoy a fruitful, productive balance. My advice is to choose what’s important. Take the time to evaluate both the things you love and the things you loathe about your day and start making conscious choices to reach that promised Eden.

Stop and smell the roses this spring!