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Attend ECR and invest in your professional future


It is my guess that the far-sighted people who first organized the ECR in 1991 never thought it would become the central professional event for every concerned radiologist in Europe. The beauty of coming to Vienna during December is Christmas; the

It is my guess that the far-sighted people who first organized the ECR in 1991 never thought it would become the central professional event for every concerned radiologist in Europe. The beauty of coming to Vienna during December is Christmas; the inspiration for coming to Vienna in March is the ECR.

Board-certified radiologists benefit most, but it is essential that all radiologists attend the ECR at least once during their training period (residency) to appreciate the vastness and diversity of the discipline. They will also learn how important it is for clinical radiologists to work closely with clinicians. Well-trained and informed radiologists can answer numerous questions that arise in daily clinical routine.

Attending the ECR improves working conditions in hospitals by establishing face-to-face contact between radiologists across Europe. Based on initial meetings at the ECR, many professional visits have been made to Central and Eastern Europe, and many contacts and friendships have been established.

The ECR provides doctors with their own annual checkup and consultation. Individuals and groups of researchers can confirm the value of their existing work and evaluate future project proposals by meeting with others in the same field of interest and by attending the discussion groups and scientific sessions. Younger radiologists may become involved in innovative projects supported by industry, perhaps eventually making dicoveries and receiving prizes.

The categorical courses provide an excellent overview of various radiology topics, while state-of-the-art symposia introduce new methodologies and advances in technology. These sessions focus on clinical requirements rather than the equipment itself. The refresher courses that target specific areas of interest may be most useful to radiologists specializing in those fields. A general radiologist who performs a large number of thoracic or gastroradiology examinations, for example, will take at least one refresher course.

Scientific posters often illustrate cases, problems, and techniques that are not covered in textbooks or on CD-ROMs. With the introduction of informatization, the previous walk-through sessions have been replaced by the innovative EPOS project, which enables discussions long after the ECR is over.

For many radiologists, attending the ECR represents an opportunity to learn more about PACS, the system for the future. The hands-on and self-assessment workshops attract many radiologists interested in a practical approach to implementing PACS.

Although industry representatives regularly inform users about their products, the ECR is a perfect place to see first-hand the rapid improvements in equipment. Overview presentations are made for smaller groups, and contrast-related companies are involved in educational activities of specific interest to younger radiologists. Most of the companies have Web pages that are easily accessible from the comfort of home, but that is never the same as talking with people on the spot at the ECR.

The effort to make the ECR accessible to a majority of radiologists is seen in the price registration list. Early registration makes the meeting more affordable, and students can attend for free.

Younger radiologists, who are very well organized through the Junior Radiologists Forum, now have their own presentations and meetings at the ECR. The novelty this year is that the ECR is sponsoring 500 young radiologists' attendance at the congress for three days, so that they can absorb the atmosphere, learn, and be inspired. I am sure none of them will leave without having made new friends.

For board-certified radiologists who participate in their societies' organizational affairs, it is always interesting to follow the European guidelines and to incorporate European standards into practice. The ECR is the forum where this is discussed and where one becomes more aware of problems and solutions to them.

Attending the ECR may be exhausting, especially for those who remain for all five days, but it is a vivid and enjoyable experience. You should come too, and see for yourself!

Franka Jelavic-Kojic is a radiologist in Zagreb, Croatia.

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