Rounds to Residency

Radiology Clinicals and Leadership Development with Elsie Koh MD

Chase DiMarco gains insights from Dr. Elsie Koh about interventional radiology, goal setting, and leadership skills essential to med students and physicians.

  • [02:05] What an Interventional Radiologist Does
  • [03:18] How Elsie Began Her Career in Interventional Radiology
  • [04:54] Advice for Medical Students When Choosing Rotations
  • [06:29] The Importance of Having a Dream/Vision
  • [11:17] The Three Types of Goals
  • [12:49] Finding Good Mentors and Peers
  • [15:31] Tips for Teachers and Preceptors

Why Interventional Radiology?

Dr. Elsie Koh was introduced to interventional radiology during a clerkship in her fourth year of medical school. Interventional radiology involves doing procedures or minimally invasive surgery under the guidance of machinery like ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans. This specialization is suitable for students who are interested in tech, enjoy interacting with students, and are good at working with their hands. Although interventional radiology is present in clinical settings, it is also applicable in academia.

Choosing a Specialty in Medicine

Medical students should take the initiative to immerse themselves in different fields rather than relying on luck to give them direction. They should take the time to think about whether or not they are interested in patient contact, research, differential diagnoses, etc. as they choose their medical school rotations, electives, or specialties.

Creating and Achieving Your Vision

Dr. Elsie Koh believes that the biggest struggle that medical students can face is themselves. Students need to take advantage of online resources and books to cultivate leadership, professionalism, and self-improvement in medicine. She shares an anecdote about Jim Carrey, who would park himself in bookstores to read self-improvement books. As a starving actor, Carrey even wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars and had a vision and belief that his first gig would be for 10 million dollars. Sure enough, three years later, he landed his first movie “Dumb and Dumber” for 10 million dollars.

Although medical students do not need to write checks for 10 million dollars, Dr. Koh emphasizes the importance of having a vision, rather than just focusing on day-to-day work. Write your vision down and repeat it. Do not be afraid to speak out and take initiative to achieve it. Each person should have three types of goals:

  1. Immediately achievable goals, such as a daily to-do list.
  2. Goals achievable with small amounts of additional effort, like upgrading your Jeep model.
  3. Goals that are large, and difficult to achieve.

Each day, we should try to accomplish three tasks related to these goals.

She is also a proponent of finding strong mentors and peers. To be a great leader, you have to be a great follower. Think about someone whose life and career you admire, and emulate them, even if they are not directly mentoring you. As for peers, filter out your friend group to avoid naysayers. Surround yourself with people who attract you with their positive attitudes. The five people with whom you spend the most time will influence you the most.

To be a great preceptor or physician leader, you need to be approachable and to listen to your students. Let your students come back to you with feedback, and even personal criticism — this is the best path to success and effectiveness. Be there for your students, and be attuned to what they need. Walk in humility, and avoid overconfidence.

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!

Check out the YouTube channel LEAD Physician, by Elsie Koh, MD EMHL, Elsie’s Facebook page, Elsie’s LinkedIn profile, Elsie’s Twitter page, and Elsie’s Instagram

Chase DiMarco

Chase DiMarco is an MS, MBA-HA and MD/Ph.D-candidate. He is the founder of MedEd University, a free medical education resource, the host of the Medical Mnemonist & Rounds to Residency podcasts creator of several medical education platforms, and CEO of FindARotation clinical rotations service.

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