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Radiology Registrar Survey 2017

Created - 24.11.2017

Response to Radiology Registrar Survey


During the month of October 2017 we conducted a survey to try and understand the reasons radiology trainees were not interested in interventional radiology. After attending such a great BSIR meeting in Birmingham, it is difficult to comprehend why anyone would want to do something else. Having said that, the results are interesting.


171 trainees responded, the majority (89) were trained in the UK. The split of male to females was 55%: 43%, with a few declining to comment. 62 % had done other specialities before entering radiology; 45% medicine, 56% surgery and 3.5% general practice.


17% expressed an interest in Interventional Radiology. 7% were interested in Interventional neuroradiology and 29 % were still undecided. The general split in other specialist areas (only most popular illustrated):





9 % were interested in general and non-vascular interventional radiology.


The main reasons for NOT considering Interventional Radiology:


  • 59 % - Poor work life balance
  • 58 % - Unsociable hours of work
  • 44 % - Insufficient interest
  • 22 % - Lack of opportunities for flexible/part time working
  • 15 % - Lack of previous experience of working in IR (to inform choice)
  • 9 % - Lack of role models
  • 6 % - Extra year of study
  • 6 % - Perceived risk

Interestingly the main reasons which influenced decision was unsociable hours (25%) and lack of previous experience in interventional radiology (25%).




If we look at just one common reason for not choosing IR, 'Unsociable hours of work' was reported as a 'key reason' for not considering a career in interventional radiology by 58% of respondents. A further 25% reported this as an influencing factor. Gender differences: Males more likely (M 73% vs F49%) to report this as a 'key reason’. The numbers are as illustrated. The standard response I often hear that women go into radiology as a lifestyle choice may not be applicable.


How important are these factors when considering a specialist interest or subspecialty:


  • Extremely important or very important:
  • Interest                                                          94%
  • Skills                                                               83%
  • Lifestyle                                                          62%
  • Level of innovation                                       52%
  • On call intensity                                            39%
  • Geography                                                     33%
  • Previous experience                                     39%
  • Research opportunities                                22%
  • Private practice                                             22%
  • Patient contact                                              33%   


I think this survey has produced some interesting results. Certainly it has made me consider how much training/exposure to interventional radiology trainees get in their first 3 years. I appreciate there are many demands on a registrars time and the first 3 years can be very much focused on passing exams. However I do think these years are important regarding future career choices. I would feel more comfortable if trainees were not going into IR because they had made an informed choice. I sometimes think that my diagnostic colleagues do have a hand in putting trainees off, citing lifestyle, onerous hours etc. I also believe that we are partly to blame with a culture where we thrive on being the last one in the department. Interventional radiology is a victim of it’s own success resulting in ever increasing demands on our time.  Anne Carson described  ‘The Consultant Contract: Present and Future’ and the discussions after (Wednesday 2nd Nov at the BSIR) highlighted that it is time to take responsibility for our working hours and to sort out our rotas so they are sustainable long term. Interesting talks from Dr Ian Robertson on ‘Work-Life Balance’ and Jane Phillips-Hughes on ‘The Challenges of On-Call’ gave further food for thought.


These talks should be available on the BSIR website. I would encourage members to comment. We now have a member’s only forum and would very much welcome peoples thoughts.


Hilary White

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