14 Aug 2007

The other day I was assigned a first year medical student for the day, presumably for a day’s “Radiology in practice”. As I tried to show him the beauty of my profession, the subtle signs indicating terrible diseases on a chest X-ray that nobody but a Radiologist would be able to detect, the wide variety of clinical challenges we deal with on a daily basis, he sat there… back straight, faint smile on his face, rucksack still on his shoulders: clearly not impressed. I can’t really blame him. We all start our medical studies with the idea of becoming a proper doctor, devoting our lives to making people better and all that. A morning spent in a dark X-ray reporting room just doesn’t quite fit that picture.

Anyway, after an hour or so of me desperately trying to keep him interested, and him even more excruciatingly feigning interest, I really had some reporting to do. I told him that maybe he should go get a coffee or something, since I was going to dictate some reports on the X-rays we just looked at. Apparently he didn’t like coffee, so he stayed put, and while I did my reporting using the real-time speech recognition software, I could sense a change of athmosphere. Sitting next to me was my student: entirely mesmerised by the little screen showing the transcript of my report (with >95% accuracy), eyes shining, in awe… “that’s so cool”, he muttered.

I might have won his soul after all.