IRQ Articles

Executive director's column 

10-11-2018 16:02

This year, I’ve been thrilled to share my IR Quarterly column as a way for you to hear how SIR’s strategic vision is being put into action by our members. For this issue, I invited Luke R. Wilkins, MD, chair of the SIR Early Career Section, to highlight the section’s many exciting activities—which both directly support the needs of IRs early in their career and inform the society’s broader plans with their unique perspective.

Prepare for takeoff

By Susan E. Sedory, MA, CAE | @SueSedory; Luke R. Wilkins, MD | Guest Columnist  Fall 2018

colleague once told me, “Watching a first-year attending while you’re a fellow is like watching a plane fly through a storm. From the ground, things may appear smooth, but you know it must be turbulent for the crew and passengers who rely on the pilot to guide it through the storm. A few months later, you’re the one flying that plane.”

The transition from training to practice may be the most difficult evolution we experience in our career: We shift from having every assessment and judgment verified or refuted to being the sole decision-maker. We abruptly become more accountable to our patients and our practice, for clinical outcomes as well as financial ones. Fortunately, we no longer need to walk that journey alone.

Founded in 2014, the SIR Early Career Section (ECS) helps ease the transition by helping to fill in the gaps that are frequently missed during training and by providing a network of support for young IRs. The ECS helps members navigate their questions and concerns regarding clinical practice, the full breadth of modern IR procedures, working with (or independently from) diagnostic radiologists, demonstrating the value of IR services, and more.

The ECS leadership has built its strategy around three main goals.

  • First, we will serve as a resource for early career–centered education, by offering a series of webinars. Recent topics have included “Basics of IR billing and coding” and “Starting an outpatient vein clinic.” We also offer a comprehensive series of lectures, discussion topics and thoughtful conversations at the SIR Annual Scientific Meeting. Past topics have included “What your partners expect from you” and “Building an academic career.”
  • Our second goal is to better integrate mentorship opportunities for our members, through SIR Connect, various social media platforms and direct contact. We both serve as mentors (particularly to trainees since we have just completed that process) and connect ECS members with IRs who have already experienced many of the obstacles we face as new attendings. In today’s age of constant accessibility, the young IR can have someone available to consult 24/7.
  • Our third goal is to have increased input into the direction and future of our specialty through more robust committee involvement. We see this as a mutually beneficial enterprise: The young IR will bring a perspective and enthusiasm to help highlight the unique needs and unmet requirements of early career IRs. Increased committee involvement will also help the ECS member have input into the future of our specialty and give us a sense of ownership.

As the Early Career Section continues to grow, we remain committed to helping ease the transition of early IRs from training to practice through education and mentorship, We will continue to serve as the voice of those early in their careers to help guide the direction of our specialty. We are grateful for the support we have already received from society leadership and ask SIR members to continue to support our mission:

  • Volunteer to give a lecture or webinar.
  • Provide mentorship or guidance when asked.
  • Tell your younger colleagues about our section and the benefits we can provide.
  • If you are within your first 8 years as an attending, join us!

As our new generation of IR residency-trained physicians enters the workforce, the ECS and SIR will be ready to accept and embrace them to help ease that turbulence in the flight from trainee to practicing IR.

Luke R. Wilkins, MD
Chair, SIR Early Career Section

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