Rounds to Residency

Boys’ Club vs Women in Radiology with Barbara Hamilton MD

Dr. Barbara Hamilton, a radiologist and physician leader, aims to demystify what life is like as a woman in the male-dominated field of radiology.

  • [01:19] How Dr. Hamilton is Changing Medicine and Medical Education for the Better
  • [02:20] Stats on Diversification Within Different Medical Fields
  • [[04:40] Special Tips for Women Interested in Interventional Radiology
  • [09:49] Resources and Tips for Students on Rotation.
  • [14:14] Finding Your Place In Medicine
  • [20:35] Things to Look out for During Residency

Chase DiMarco talks to Dr. Barbara Hamilton, a radiologist and physician leader who aims to demystify what life is like as a woman in a male-dominated field. She is the author of Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own: Finding Your Place in Medicine and also blogs at tiredsuperheroine.com, with the goal of patching the leaky pipeline of women aspiring to join traditionally male-dominated specialties like interventional radiology and surgery.

How Dr. Hamilton is Changing Medicine and Medical Education for the Better

Unfortunately, the medical world is male-dominated, and Dr. Hamilton realized that during her early days in the field. The knowledge, time, and dedication required meant that some women struggled in the area, and thus, most women are often discouraged from pursuing a career in medicine. However, Dr. Hamilton believes that more women need to be inspired to pursue medicine to tap into all the available talent pools that both genders present.

Stats on Diversification Within Different Medical Fields

Male-dominated fields are usually highly skewed as far as demographics are concerned. Some areas have more women, while others have more men. As of 2017, the total number of women practicing averaged at about 30%, which is really disheartening with regards to gender balance. The numbers significantly decrease in the critical care and neurosurgery departments, with the percentages falling to less than 20%. Although most pediatricians are women, Dr. Hamilton believes that the few women in highly specialized fields can sometimes feel isolated, affecting their productivity.

Special Tips for Women Interested in Interventional Radiology

Unfortunately, radiology isn’t part of the traditional medical curriculum, so you’ll most likely have to specialize in radiology if you are at all interested in the field. Nonetheless, Dr. Hamilton feels that the more radiology a practitioner can grasp, the easier it will be to understand medical imaging. Most people have a biased perception that radiology can be learned in a weekend or two. That’s usually far from the truth since radiologists spend four years in residency before becoming radiology specialists. Radiology is traditionally male-dominated, but Dr. Hamilton hopes that the male majority can be open enough to accept the women in the field to better the field and the patient’s well-being. As for the women, the only way you’ll stand out is if you outwork the men and be the best at whatever you do.

Resources and Tips for Students on Rotation

Your time in rotation is when you stand out from the rest and be recognized for your expertise. Nevertheless, it would be best if you didn’t spend all your time immersed in your books. You are more likely to gain the necessary experience by asking the right people the right questions at the right time. The best students are the ones that ask questions but, more specifically, the ones that know when not to ask a question. Also, nurses spend the most time with patients, so be friendly and always consult. You never know; a nurse might give you answers to questions a resident doctor would struggle with. With the pandemic still with us, it might be a little difficult to have face to face consultations with specialists. Take advantage of video resources on YouTube or connect with resident doctors on social media. They might not answer back, but it’s always worth a try.

Finding Your Place in Medicine

Choosing the specialty to pursue can sometimes be challenging, and how some people approach choosing might not necessarily work for you. For this reason, it pays to do some little research on the fields you’d like to specialize in because the area you choose needs to be something you’re passionate about. Moreover, the people around you can significantly influence your path and your experience in the field. Dr. Hamilton noticed that some students struggled to choose their ideal paths and wrote the book Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own: Finding Your Place in Medicine. The book is meant to help you make the right decision and highlight the potential difficulties you might encounter.

Things to Look Out For During Your Residency Years

Medicine is a world of infinite knowledge where some people think of it as a marathon instead of a sprint. In contrast, Dr. Hamilton believes that learning can be both a spirit and a marathon since sometimes you’ll be forced to learn things in the shortest time possible. So, always have that comfortable space where you’ll be able to enjoy uninterrupted study time whenever you need it. Even with all the reading, always make time for self-care. Self-care can be as simple as riding a bike to work or going for a morning jog. Nonetheless, when relaxing, always ensure that the activity you partake in is actually recharging you.

Check out Dr. Hamilton’s free audio training, and purchase signed copies of her book Save Lives, Enjoy Your Own. Also check out the insight timer app and reach out to Dr. Hamilton via Twitter, Instagram, or through her website.

Sign up for a Free Coaching session with Chase DiMarco, sponsored by Prospective Doctor! You can also join the Med Mnemonist Mastermind FB Group today and learn more about study methods, memory techniques, and MORE! Do check out Read This Before Medical School. Like our FreeMedEd Facebook page and find our Medical Micro Course, Blog posts, and Podcasts at FreeMedEd.org! Feel free to Email any Questions or Comments.

Chase DiMarco

Chase DiMarco is an MS, MBA-HA and MD/Ph.D-candidate. He is the founder of FreeMedEd, a free medical education resource, the host of the Medical Mnemonist 1-Minute Preceptor podcasts by MedSchoolCoach, creator of several medical education platforms, and CEO of FindARotation clinical rotations service.

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