Comment: Being trained abroad: a European experience

March 9, 2009

As part of the European School of Radiology (ESOR) Visiting Scholarships Programme, I had the opportunity to obtain further training in musculoskeletal radiology in Dublin from September until December 2008.

Miraude EAPM Adriaensen, M.D., MSc

As part of the European School of Radiology (ESOR) Visiting Scholarships Programme, I had the opportunity to obtain further training in musculoskeletal radiology in Dublin from September until December 2008. Training was provided in three different facilities: the Mater Misericordiae Hospital (the university hospital), the Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital (Ireland's major center for elective orthopedic surgery), and the Sports Surgery Clinic (a leading international center for the treatment of sports- and exercise-related injuries).

At the moment, the postgraduate training programs in the Netherlands, including radiology, are being modernized and restructured. In accordance with the European Training Charter for Clinical Radiology, Dutch radiology rotations will become organ-based instead of modality-based. The year of implementation will be 2009. So far all my radiology rotations have been modality-based. Therefore, the visiting scholarship offered by the ESOR was a great opportunity for me to spend some dedicated time in musculoskeletal radiology.

Besides attending the musculoskeletal read-out sessions, reading musculoskeletal MRIs myself in off hours (thanks to PACS), and performing some musculoskeletal ultrasound, I received helpful practical advice, interesting cases to set up my own musculoskeletal teaching file, and recommendations for textbooks to read in my spare time.

Furthermore, living in a different country, as I have previously experienced, is always personally enriching. After all the living abroad I've done so far (London, Brussels, Vienna, Boston, Perth, Newcastle, Washington, DC, Augsburg), I did not expect that the differences between the Netherlands and Ireland would be so huge. From my point of view, Ireland is ahead in some aspects (privatization to the detriment of training, unfortunately), behind in others (no integrated PACS in the university hospital, still reading from films in the national orthopedic hospital), and very American (liability, informed consent forms, gowns, 24x7 opening hours of the shops). Furthermore, commuting is not very pedestrian- or cyclist-friendly. For instance, they expect cyclists to fly over the vanishing bicycle lane (there is a bicycle lane and then it stops -- and then it continues a couple of hundred meters further along) and the traffic lights are very badly timed. Even the local police walk through the red lights!

From this position, I would like to again thank everyone who made it possible for me to spend these three unforgettable months in Dublin, the ESOR in particular.

I encourage every resident to apply for the ESOR visiting scholarship program and I hope that, in spite of the current global financial crisis, the ESOR will find ways to support more and more visiting scholars each year.

In 2008 Dr Adriaensen was the first Dutch resident in radiology to receive one of the visiting scholarships offered by the European School of Radiology. Currently, she works as a radiologist at Atrium Medical Center in Heerlen, the Netherlands.