What's a typical workday like for you?

I arrive at the hospital 7:30 a.m. I perform fluoroscopy examinations, give epidural steroid injections for back and leg pain, review requests and direct technologists who do CT, MRI and other scans. I interpret those scans, mammograms, chest x-rays, ultrasounds and other imaging studies. I spend about one hour on administrative tasks. I usually finish up between 5 and 6 p.m., but when I'm on call, the day just keeps going. Additionally, since I am part of the leadership structure, I also attend evening meetings once or twice a week.

How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

Medical imaging is a small, but important, part of healthcare. Diagnosis guides treatment, so most patients have one or more imaging studies as part of the investigation of their symptoms or disease. Radiologists, therefore, consult with all other medical specialists. Some of us also provide direct therapies such as cerebral aneurysm coiling, tumor ablation or varicose vein treatment.

Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

I interact with technologists, healthcare administrators, patients, nurses and other physicians. I also interact with my own partners several times a day as we review and evaluate patient imaging data.

Why did you become a radiologist?

General radiologists care for the full range of people, male, female, young and old. Our work is intellectually challenging and technically demanding. And there's always something new to learn.

What do you like about your work?

It's wonderfully satisfying to know that I'm making a valuable contribution to patient care either directly or in consultation with the patient's attending physician or the surgeon.

Nancy Giguere is a freelance writer from St. Paul who has written about healthcare since 1995.