Postgraduate Medical Councilof Western Australia Careers Portal
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*WA figures sourced from NHWDS & MET

Radiologists specialise in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases using medical imaging procedures such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound.

Radiologists generally work as either diagnostic radiologists or interventional radiologists.

As a diagnostic radiologist you will rely on the interpretation of CT scans, MRIs, PET scans and ultrasounds to assist in the diagnosis of the patient’s conditions. You will need a good understanding of anatomy, physiology and medical and surgical conditions to provide advice on the best imaging option to the requesting clinician.
There are many areas of interest you may choose including breast radiology, cardiovascular radiology, paediatric radiology, emergency radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, head and neck radiology and neuroradiology.

Interventional radiology (IR) involves diagnosing and treating patients by using image guided, minimally invasive techniques, such as x-rays and MRIs. Interventional radiologists can treat conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and embolism through these techniques.


FULL PANEL RECORDING

As a radiologist you will need to be:
  • Accurate and careful, with an eye for detail
  • Motivated and disciplined
  • Excellent at analysis and interpretation
  • Able to work long hours and on call, especially during the training to become a radiologist
  • Comfortable with periods of reporting and focusing on images.
As a radiologist there’s less emphasis on continuity of care so you can choose how many days you work – there’s a lot of plasticity in the way you work and the types of jobs that you can do. The world is your oyster with radiology!

Generally, the work life balance is very good. Most of the time you’re working office hours. There is a big emphasis on self-directed learning and studying to ensure you’re keeping up-to-date and can do your job effectively. You need to be aware that there are additional hours required outside of your ‘work’ hours to ensure you’re keeping up-to-date.


How do you get exposure to radiology experience?
What is the work-life balance like as a radiologist?

To become a radiologist, you need to complete a five-year training program through the Royal Australian and NZ College of Radiology.

The training involves rotations at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital with a few peripheral sites in the private sector as well as Perth Children’s Hospital.

You can get into radiology after two years of postgraduate training, so you can apply in your second year at the earliest to commence in your third year. However, in general it’s better to have a bit more experience. They’re looking for trainees with a real drive and interest in radiology.

You can experience interventional radiology at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital through their resident rotation. Another way to gain exposure is to organise an observership at any of the hospitals which also allows the hospital staff to meet you and they’ll be able to put a face to the name come interview time.

There are lots of radiology meetings which are very good to attend as part of your hospital rotations. Radiology is very friendly specialty so it’s worthwhile speaking with the radiologists whenever you can as part of your rotations.

The program is quite competitive to get onto so there’s a lot of preparation involved. Although it’s very a very supportive program once you get there with ongoing teaching and learning available. Consultants are happy to check your work and colleagues and other registrars are happy to teach and show you interesting cases.
As a trainee you’ll typically work during office hours. There are often multidisciplinary team meetings running in the morning that you can attend which are great for learning. Depending on the hospital you’re working in you could be allocated to a procedural role that involves ultrasound guided procedures such as injections and drains.

The teaching program is very robust, and you get paid protected time every week with a lot of extracurricular teaching sessions and tutorials that people are happy to put on after hours. Overall, it’s a very supportive and nurturing environment.

The breadth of knowledge and medicine you get to learn is exciting. You get to see a range of things from acute such as strokes or severe bleeding to outpatients. There’s also a lot of procedures involved including musculoskeletal injections, drains and interventional radiology.

The pathway to get into interventional radiology (IR) is the same as getting into radiology in general – you’re selected as part of the selection group each year. Once you’re in you do quarterly rotations through different sub-specialties and IR is one of them. If you have a strong interest in IR you might request an additional term in IR. Once you’ve completed your five-year training you would then do an IR Fellowship.


Which PGY year do you usually get into radiology training?
How do you get into interventional radiology?
What does a typical day look like for a radiology trainee?
What are the great things about radiology?
Overview of radiology training program

Radiologists have opportunities to work in both the public and private sector, and be involved in research, innovation, education and academia. There are large radiology companies which hire in the private sector, and public hospitals.

N.B. Career prospects are dependent on both the supply of specialists and the projected future demand for services provided by medical specialists (including general practitioners). The complex interplay of supply and demand is currently being modelled at both a state and national level and will be included when it's available.