For Diagnostic Radiology resident alumnus Dr. Kelly Hastings (2013-2017), the collective wisdom of teaching faculty helped her learn many angles of practice over four training years. Nowadays, the tips from seasoned practitioners have helped guide her as she heads into early career.

“All of my attendings contributed to my education and shaped the type of physician I have become. My colleagues in private practice value my opinion, and I attribute a large portion of that to the comprehensive training I received as a resident.”

Kelly with 3-year-old daughter Charlotte, husband Nick.

Where she’s willing to mention faculty names, Hastings emphasizes the resident takeaway foremost.

Former faculty member Dr. Troy Maetani (Musculoskeletal Imaging) stressed the importance of understanding normal anatomy, as well as having a systematic approach to reading MRI.

“[Dr. Maetani] really emphasized that residents were there to learn #1. I took these lessons with me when deciding how I wanted to treat residents as the fellow overseeing the reading room.”

Pearls from other faculty ran the range. Associate Professor Dr. Sheri Jordan (Breast Imaging) imparted invaluable approaches to practice, from how to manage breast imaging patients, to efficiency as a practitioner group. Professor of Radiology Dr. Jordan Renner (Musculoskeletal Imaging) emphasized careful choice of verbiage in case reports. Former faculty member Dr. Julia Fielding (Abdominal Imaging) instructed Hastings and others to be assertive when confident in a diagnosis to advantage both patient and referring physician.

Among her peers, Hastings shared in the needed support system. Laughs went a long way on rough days in the reading room. Good-humored jokes buoyed a presenting resident struggling with a case presentation in conference. As Chief Resident, she shifted to taking charge of her peer family alongside her two Co-Chief Residents.

“I tried to balance being both authoritative and understanding. I learned to be direct and clear with what I wanted to accomplish, to ask specific questions, and not to rely on assumptions. Working through difficult situations with teaching faculty, as the residents’ representative, I tried to see where attendings were coming from with their expectations as well.”

For fellowship, Hastings wanted to pursue a subspecialty that both interested and would strengthen her as a radiologist.  Amongst 80 applicants, she was chosen for one of two 2017-2018 Musculoskeletal (MSK) Imaging fellows at top-tier Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. Not one to conclude what separated her from the pack, Hastings saw her selection as a validation of how she presented herself both as an individual, and as a competitive applicant.

“What you enjoy doing or are good at become not just fillers for a CV. Your experience genuinely contributes to what an interviewing program sees in your education and experience, whether that be research, leadership or volunteer work. It never hurts to be well rounded and try something different, such as doing non-required research, even if research isn’t your strength. Department members who have connections to a desired fellowship program are not only critical for supporting your candidacy. They also can advise whether a program under consideration suits your goals for fellowship.”

Two years out of residency, Hastings balances life between work and home resettled with her husband Nick and two-year-old daughter Charlotte in home state Oklahoma. Hastings Baby #2 is due in December. Just as residency success relied upon peer support, Kelly routinely provides subspecialty consult to practice colleagues in more complex and post-surgical cases as her group’s sole Musculoskeletal Imaging radiologist. Excitingly, she will transition to full partner in her practice group in August.

As Chief Resident, Hastings observed that the Girl Scout in her wanted to leave the program better than she found it.  Humbled yet confident that she is a valued colleague passing the year mark with a private group, all signs indicate that Hastings’ inner Girl Scout will bring leadership and innovation to what she can offer her practice and the field itself in the years ahead.