Resident education and patient care are the highest priorities of the department. Residents learn by performing all the day-to-day tasks in a given section, from protocoling and monitoring exams, interpreting exams independently and then alongside faculty, to dictating reports. The low number of fellows in the department also makes this a “resident-driven” program, where residents learn to run the section, interpret more advanced imaging modalities and cases, and perform advanced procedures, duties often reserved for fellows in larger departments. While most resident education occurs at the workstations, resident education is also provided via multiple other channels.
- Conferences: Protected time is provided for radiology conferences. Faculty provides didactic and case-based conference during the lunch hour every day of the week. Morning conferences are also conducted two to three days a week. Residents also attend subspecialty interdisciplinary conferences while on rotation for a given section. Departmental Morbidity and Mortality and Journal Club conferences are also held regularly.
- Research: Residents work alongside faculty in performing research, writing case reports and review papers, and submitting posters to various national radiology conferences. Residents with posters or presentations at a national conference can then attend the meeting, with travel costs covered by the department (upon approval by the Chairman).
- Section learning goals: Each division of the department has learning goals and milestones for residents as they rotate through the service, with recommendations for reading material and topics to be covered, according to the resident’s level of training.
- Online resources: The department provides subscriptions to top radiology educational modules, including Statdx and Radprimer, for self-directed learning.
- Pediatric radiology: Residents’ pediatric radiology rotations are through George Washington University’s affiliated DC Children’s National Medical Center, a nationally ranked children’s hospital, where residents train under GW medical faculty, just a few miles away from the main campus.
- AIRP (American Institute for Radoilogic Pathology) course: All residents attend this four-week course (on the pathophysiologic understanding of disease as a basis for radiologic interpretation) in Silver Springs, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington DC, during their 3rd year.
- Mini-fellowships: Residents can choose to do a 3 month mini-fellowship in any of the sections during fourth year. Residents typically use this as an opportunity to get additional subspecialty training in an area of interest outside of their planned fellowship.
- Health Policy Rotation: Interested residents can take a month long elective in Health Policy during their 4th year, offered through the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health.
- Resident Assessment: Residents are evaluated by faculty in each rotation through the MedHub portal, with evaluations available to residents for review. Residents are also assessed via the national In-Service exam and an in-house “Mock Oral examination,” to ensure that they are on track for their Radiology Board Certification Exam, where our residents have traditionally performed very well.
Residents rotate through the various core subspecialty services in four-week blocks. Gradually, more and more autonomy with the workflow is given to resident as they gain the necessary skills in each subspecialty. After the first month residents start taking plain film weekend call, which entails reading the inpatient and ER plain films performed the night before along with an attending physician. After the first six months, residents begin supervised junior call in accordance with ABR guidelines. Approximately one weekend a month, they serve as the daytime resident on call and provide preliminary interpretations on all studies. Senior residents are present in another reading room and over-read these studies prior to releasing them in the electronic medical records. There are no night call shifts assigned to the first year residents so they can focus their weekend time on reading and advancing their knowledge base.
The residents continue through the core subspecialty services and begin rotations in new sections, including Breast Imaging, Interventional Radiology, and Pediatric radiology at Children’s National Medical Center. Night and weekend call duties also begin during the second year, where residents work autonomously (with on-call attending back-up coverage available if necessary). The residents take approximately 12 to 13 weeks of night call during their residency, with approximately 6-7 weeks during their second year, with the remainder spread between the 3rd and 4th years.
The third year is less call-intensive and is more focused toward board preparation. It is at the end of this year that the resident takes the ABR Core examination. During this year, the resident also selects their chosen field of fellowship. While on service, residents are given more independence to hone skills at both interpreting of studies and controlling workflow. Residents spend also four weeks at the American Institute for Radoilogic Pathology (AIRP) course during this year.
The incorporation of the new board examination allows for a more clinical approach to the fourth year. The residents continue rotations through the various sections. Each senior resident can also chose one subspecialty area of interest within the department for a 3 month “mini-fellowship.” The resident is expected to function as a true fellow during this time with elevated responsibilities and expectations, culminating with a Grand Rounds-type noon conference by the resident to the department.