Interview with Dr Kristin Chard

Before choosing Radiology as my specialty I had considered surgery however did not enjoy the politics that went with it. At first I wanted to apply for interventional Radiology as it is still procedural but without the politics of training in surgery. However, my chosen specialty is now Interventional Neuroradiology. I will be heading off overseas in 2012 to complete a fellowship in this area. Radiology is a very versatile specialty, there is scope to be a generalist or to specialise and do procedures that no one else is doing. Radiology is a great specialty and is rapidly growing as it relies on technology and it advances with it.

Working at ADHB for the entirety of 2011 has been great. Here you experience top level cases form not just the Auckland region but from all around New Zealand. The calibre of teaching at Auckland and the exposure to top level cases everyday has been amazing.

Top 3 things about the Radiology Training programme in the Auckland Region:
• The relationships with the consultants; they really care and invest a lot of time into your training
• The amount of teaching you receive in the Auckland region is great
• The support you receive from your colleagues is really important; there are usually a large number of trainees all sitting exams at the same time so this is really helpful for study opportunities

Completing my entire training in the Auckland region meant that essentially I got to stay in one area but had the advantage of experiencing three very different hospitals with a wide range of general and sub-specialty cases. The access that you have to consultants and Radiology specialists means that the training programme is really well supported; maybe this is one of the reasons the Auckland Region has the highest pass rate in Australasia!

Radiology is a great specialty if having a work/life balance is really important to you. It's still hard work but once you get your exams out of the way work can be reasonably flexible as Radiology is sessional based. Also, in your first year you are not on call so you have plenty of time to study. In my spare time I am training for the Auckland Marathon and getting to as many of the Rugby World cup games as possible.

There are plenty of social activities within Radiology. I am currently organising the large annual Radiology registrar dinner which is a sponsored event and is always a great night. Conferences such as the New Zealand Branch Meeting and the RANZCR ASM are also a great place to catch up with fellow trainees.

If you are thinking about applying to do Radiology the advice I would give is to do a broad range of runs at House Officer level and since you cannot do runs as a House Officer in Radiology spend time in the department. Follow your patients if you have time when they go down to Radiology and get yourself known. A little research project may also help your application.

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