One of our most popular special interest groups is our Young Professionals and Trainee SIG. This year sees the introduction of a new simpler subscription package for trainees and a special “newly qualified” rate for those making the leap from trainee to consultant. Here, Chair Dr Ausumi Abbas talks about what motivates him to belong to the BIR (and nine other things you didn’t know about him).
1. Why did you choose to train as a radiologist?
I always enjoyed diagnostic challenges as a junior doctor. As I gained more experience I increasingly saw the importance and effect of good quality imaging interpretation to patient outcome and the ever increasing role of image-guided therapy to patient care particularly for cases that traditionally would have required surgical intervention.
2. Why did you originally join the BIR?
I originally joined the BIR partly to take advantage of the “member discount” for attending a BIR course and partly so that I would have access to the British Journal of Radiology.
3. What does the BIR offer trainees and why would you encourage your fellow trainees to get involved?
Getting involved with the BIR via the regional BIR branches or via the national Trainee SIG offers trainees a fantastic platform to meet and work alongside enthusiastic and dynamic colleagues from all across the country and across all of the disciplines involved in delivering high-quality imaging and image-guided therapies. It’s really easy to join and very good value at only £35 per year. I would also encourage trainees to continue their membership throughout their career, and to encourage this the BIR is now offering a special rate for newly qualified consultants.
One of the most satisfying things I have found since becoming involved with the Trainee SIG has been the opportunity to develop the annual BIR trainee meeting, which over the last 3–4 years has helped numerous attendees towards their goal of becoming radiologists. It’s a meeting that continues to grow in its popularity, with over 100 delegates having attended the most recent meeting in London last November, and I would of course recommend it to anyone considering applying for a career in radiology or intending to apply for consultant radiology posts in the near future.
4. What is the best part of your job?
I’m a bit of a closet Sherlock Holmes fan, so one of the most satisfying aspects of my job is getting the opportunity to play “detective” and unravel difficult diagnostic challenges using the various imaging modalities at our disposal. I also love the fact that as a radiologist you are always learning something new on a weekly, if not daily, basis, and I find that keeps the job fresh and enjoyable.
5. The most difficult thing you've dealt with at work is?
This is probably going to sound like a cliché but I would have to say one of the hardest things about training as a junior doctor was learning to deal with the death of patients, particularly when it occurs suddenly or the patient involved is young. I think it can’t help but change your perspective on life and certainly makes you appreciate friends and family a whole lot more.
6. Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
Hmmm cliché number two alert! I would have to say that my dad has been a huge influence on my life. In the evenings after school or during school holidays as a child, my dad (who is an oncologist working at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading) would often take me to work with him. I think one of the fundamental things I learned from seeing my dad at work was the importance of a good sense of humour as a doctor and that’s something I’ve tried to apply to my own working life.
7. Which three scientists would you like to spend an evening with and why?
Well in a fantasy world where I was going to host a dinner party with three scientists, I would probably want to extend it out to involve non-scientists from any age and era as well… it is my dinner party after all. I think I would pick Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. All three people in very different ways had the courage in their lives to stand up and fight for what they believed in. I think it would have been an incredible and humbling experience to hear them describe their life stories.
8. When you are not working, how do you like to spend your time?
I like spending my free time relaxing with friends and family. I like to spoil my weekends supporting Liverpool Football Club and at the moment I’m trying my hardest not to acknowledge the cricket in Australia!
9. What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing, I sleep like a baby!
10. What might we be surprised to know about you?
I hate spiders!