What is it Like to Specialize in Diagnostic Radiology?

Craig Smith, MDMy name is Craig Smith, and I’m a Diplomate of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). I’ve been a diagnostic radiologist since 1982. I chose radiology because of the lifestyle. I wanted to practice a medical specialty that would allow me to spend more time with my family, and radiology turned out to be a very good choice. I’m able to spend lots of quality time with my family, take wonderful vacations, and still have room on my schedule to attend conferences.

Professionally, I love anatomy and enjoy applying that discipline to the interpretation of images. Solving complex problems can be fun. I especially enjoy interacting with other radiologists in the reading room. Being able to get a second and third opinion from your colleagues is invaluable, and helping your partners or residents with difficult cases is deeply satisfying.

Although I have saved several patients’ lives by making critical diagnoses on X-rays, working in diagnostic radiology isn’t always straightforward, and can be quite demanding. Every diagnostic radiologist needs to develop the mental stamina to rapidly and accurately interpret a reasonable number of studies in a given time, making sure that each report provides a clear and concise summary that answers the clinical question.  In fact, the biggest challenge in the specialty comes from having to read more studies faster while still being accurate.

One of my most challenging cases, which is also one of my most memorable, was that of a 17-year-old boy who suffered a neck injury after diving into a swimming pool. This happened many years ago, before the frequent use of CT scans. The initial study at a different hospital was read as negative, so the boy was sent home. However, he came to our institution still complaining of neck pain. I suspected a fracture and eventually proved that he had sustained a fracture of the odontoid process.

If I had to offer a diagnostic radiologist in training a word of advice it would be: Learn to really enjoy the work. If you truly enjoy it, you will never have to work a day in your life. Also, never stop reading. Read like the Dickens.

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House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
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June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine