Q: When did you know you wanted to be a radiologist?
While critically ill with bacterial meningitis at the age of four, I discovered a new world.
After my time in the hospital, medicine became a preoccupation and play centered on the doctor-patient relationship. My sister would pretend to be pregnant by stuffing a pillow under her dress, and I would examine her "baby" with a toy stethoscope.
Years later, I entered medical school and set out on a career in pediatrics, following in the footsteps of the physician who saved my life. However, I was distressed by what I observed as the mechanics of practicing pediatric medicine. I worried I would eventually end up managing nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as cajoling parents to follow advice.
“Although it was difficult to abandon a career in pediatrics, I sought comfort in the knowledge that I was making an informed decision.” — Wendy Laura Zolotor Stiles, MD
Although it was difficult to abandon a career in pediatrics, I sought comfort in the knowledge that I was making an informed decision. Many of my mentors told be about the careers they wished they had chosen. Radiology was among the specialties mentioned most often, so I explored that path.
Truly, I stumbled upon radiology, yet I found it to be a place in medicine where physicians were happy, stimulated by work, and respected by colleagues. Alas, I had doubts that I could meet the expectations and become a radiologist. Luckily, I found an incredible mentor in Johan G. Blickman, MD, PhD, FACR. With his help, I realized my dream of becoming a radiologist. I now live without regret, knowing my interpretations aid physicians in managing their patients. It is hard work, but I could not be happier in any other profession or practicing in any other field of medicine.
Wendy Laura Zolotor Stiles, MD, Body MRI fellow, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz.