The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Switching Specialties in Medicine and Advice for Residency Applications with Dr. Jade Anderson

Dr. Jade Anderson discusses transitioning from orthopedic surgery to radiology, and shares advice for residency applications and interviews. Dr. Anderson is a radiology resident at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut.

  • [01:14] Why Switch from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology?
  • [05:03] Applying for a Position in Radiology
  • [07:14] Switching Specialties in Medicine
  • [09:44] Transition from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology
  • [12:25] How to Be a Standout Applicant
  • [15:17] Applying for a Residency During COVID-19
  • [21:13] Tips for Nailing Your Residency Interview
  • [22:52] Dr. Anderson’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students

Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Jade Anderson, a radiology resident at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. Prior to her current position, she was an orthopedic surgeon for 2 years. Realizing that her true calling was in radiology, she made the difficult decision to switch specializations.

Switching Residencies from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology

From a young age, Dr. Anderson knew she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon. As an orthopedics resident, she found that reading and interpreting imaging was what she enjoyed the most. She even taught several radiology classes in her spare time. Looking back, her interest in radiology has always been there. A self-evaluation made her realize that maybe radiology would be a better fit for her.

Dr. Anderson reached out to other doctors who switched from orthopedics to radiology. Their journeys resonated so much with what she was feeling. Her friends encouraged her to make the switch and so she did. It was a tough decision but it proved to be the correct one as Dr. Anderson is currently thriving in her new field.

Most medical students are unaware that that they can switch residencies but it is indeed possible. Dr. Anderson admits that her laser focus on becoming an orthopedic surgeon has blinded her from considering other options. Take a moment to pause every once in a while to evaluate your happiness in your chosen field.

Transition from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology

Switching specialties will come with new challenges. For Dr. Anderson, she had to build her knowledge and skills in radiology while re-learning past lessons in medicine. She’s an expert in the musculoskeletal system but there are other areas she needed to brush up on.

Thankfully, she was able to adjust to her new specialization fairly quickly. Radiologists are the physician’s physician. Doctors rely on them to interpret imaging results, to identify possible complications, and to evaluate the success of surgeries. A radiologist makes vital decisions that could affect a patient’s outcome.

Applying for a Residency During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and schools to cancel in person interviews. Assessments will be conducted virtually. This also means that applicants won’t get the chance to visit the hospital and see its facilities and systems in action. On the other hand, students are applying to more places because they don’t have to attend interviews in person. Programs are well aware of this and are adjusting to accommodate time differences. Interviewers may ask standardized questions as a comparative scale to screen applicants.

Since face to face interviews are not possible, admission committees will have to rely more on documents. Board scores matter but they also consider grades, rotations, and the dean’s letter. All these requirements paint a picture of how you work with others and how you treat patients.

Tips for Nailing Your Residency Interview

Familiarize yourself with common questions and have your answers ready. No need to memorize a script, but instead answer authentically using your outline as a guide. Go with the flow of the conversation, adding or removing talking points as needed. Practicing in front of a mirror helps to build confidence. Check your gadget, video conference software, and internet connection beforehand to guarantee that your interview will run smoothly on the day of.

The interviewer will use this meeting to assess whether you will fit in with the department. An outgoing personality is not necessary but use this opportunity to show that you are approachable, responsible, and cooperative.

Dr. Anderson’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students

As you become a resident, you will be tasked with more responsibilities. Double checking is very important to avoid mistakes. Check up on your colleagues, juniors, and staff to see if tasks have been completed. Inspect your own work to ensure everything is in order. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Get into the habit of verifying information¾this will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

 

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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