Interview Stations - 40 mins (8 mins each)
There are 5 stations, each of which we will discuss briefly. Don't forget that as of 2014, the stations are now 8 minutes, not 10.
All of these stations will be discussed in much more detail in our next ST1 interview course, along with interactive examples, mock interview and personalised feedback; keep an eye out for dates on the website and to sign up for course announcements, just send us a message from the contact us page.
Overlook or underestimate this station, easy key marks will be lost. This station will allow you to anticipate questions from interviewers and provide you with time to deliver a well structured answer.
You will be shown a series of 5 clinical scenarios, and you must prioritise each one, justifying why. This will then be discussed in the clinical station. Ensure that you are clear in your mind of which order you will discuss the cases, and why, and this will settle you in to the clinical station comfortably.
The other aspect to this station is that you will be shown a vignette of an audit/study, and you will be asked to discuss it during the portfolio station. You must evaluate whether or not it is a well designed audit/study, and how you could improve it. In order to excel here, you must be well-versed with the steps of clinical audit, and the difference between audit and research. Remember, a balanced answer is what they are expecting.
Personal experiences and numerous feedback agree that the Commitment station is the most daunting station.
With a huge range of potential topics to cover, you must convey precisely why you want to be a radiologist, and what qualities and skills you have to make you a good radiologist within the limitations of 8 minutes.
Being asked "why do you want to be a radiologist?" is guaranteed and you must have an answer up your sleeve, or it will an uphill climb. Be yourself, and definitely be honest. Genuine enthusiasm is hard to beat, and will not go un-noticed.
Prepare for a broad range of questions, which could come from any area of the person specification.
Things that can really earn you marks here include a working understanding of IR(ME)R 2000, an appreciation of the threats to radiology, recent advances, and understanding the structure of the radiology training scheme. But prepare for some curve balls. Having an idea about potential subspecialties that you might opt for and enjoy also demonstrates that you have considered your future career carefully.
The portfolio station consists of two elements:
Firstly, discussion of the audit from the preparation station. Go through your observations succinctly, with emphasis on how you could improve it. This really demonstrates how well you understand the audit process.
Secondly, your portfolio will be critiqued - the most important aspect here is that it is well organised. You will not have much time to locate the documents the panel ask for, so by being slick in retrieving your documents, you will maximise your time to shine.
You will need to be methodical with this station and ensure you are up to date with your IR(ME)R 2000 terminology e.g RPS and RPA, referrer, operator etc. Other important things to know are the 28 day/10 day rules. Themes from scenarios tend to include doses larger than intended, irradiating the wrong patient, breaking bad news, consent and capacity issues, and unexpected findings. Again, the best way to ensure you do well on this station is to practice scenarios with a friend so that you are comfortable discussing the issues listed.
This station is split into two sections, firstly the prioritisation, and secondly, the image interpretation.
- You will revisit the scenarios from the preparation station
- You need to be able to justify why you prioritise them in the order you choose
- Always put patient safety first
- Expect 2-3 images in total
- Could be any modality
- They will present images you have not seen before, so do not panic and take your time
- Need structure to your answer
- Try to think like a radiologist!
- What is the study? If cross-sectional, which plane? What are the pertinent findings? What is the diagnosis? What is the management?
- The examiners will help you if you get stuck, but as long as you put patient safety first and show that you are methodical, you will be fine
- The best thing you can do is practice! Go through your local PACS, look at the past day's scans, try to guess the diagnosis from the images before reading the report. Doing this a few times a week will be an excellent preparation. You will also learn to use the right terms.
Quality is better than quantity.
- Audit - ideally in radiology- preferably 3 with at least 1 had a loop closed.
- Research - ideally a project in radiology. Read a recent ClinRad journal issue to get a feel for radiology research. Know the difference between research and audit.
- Publications and posters
- Teaching - bedside/local/regional/national, with written feedback. Teaching courses are very helpful and will make you stand out.
- Courses - either radiological or relevant e.g. CXR/USS, basic surgical skills, US guided central lines, ALS (required), ATLS, RSM radiology themed days or other radiologically themed courses
- Taster week
- Conferences e.g. SRT, BIR, RCR
- Postgraduate exams e.g. MRCS, MRCP
- Membership of radiological societies e.g. BIR/SRT
- Logbook - can be helpful with hand-to-eye co-ordination e.g. USS guided placement of central lines, or even things like non-radiological procedural DOPS to show your dexterity
- Attend MDTs in your current hospital to gain insight on the role of the radiologist
- Extra-curricular achievements
- Start going through your local PACS, looking at the day's scans
- MSF/WBAs that demonstrate pertinent aspects of your abilities and skills