Stay Sharp

What are ways to stay focused during long work shifts? Here’s a collection of ideas from radiologists on the Nines team: 

Dr. Melissa Davis, Nines Advisor
Dr. Michelle Goni, Nines Radiologist
Dr. Matt Lungren, Nines Advisor
Dr. Shannon Crawford, Nines Radiologist

Before the start of each shift I...

Dr. Goni

If I work the early morning shift, I usually prepare Cuban coffee (my husband actually is the one that does it!) and I have that just before I start. If I work the later shift, I’ll exercise in the morning, I’m a Peloton addict, and then I’ll probably have another cup of coffee (that one I make 😉).


Dr. Lungren

...try to energize by getting in a morning workout when possible. My kids' swim team morning workouts are pretty early before school so for better or worse this means I make an effort to swim laps too since I'm up and driving them to practice anyway. I'm told I should meditate to have more control over my life. Maybe I'll try that when I get more control over my calendar.


Dr. Davis

...try to take a nap if it is an overnight shift or one that will go into the early morning hours. I have learned though, to make sure that I wake up 30 minutes before the shift to shake off the grogginess! Each morning I try to workout and do a 10 minute meditation to get me started on my day shifts.

Dr. Crawford

...focus on the day’s goals and plan a short list of tasks pertinent to the current shift that can be accomplished before reading. Usually this means responding to emails and phone calls as the system is logging on, following up with clinicians on cases that need their attention, and addressing administrative tasks. It’s then a relief to be able to focus on the single task of image interpretation.


Around hour 5 of a shift I stay sharp by...

Dr. Goni

…Around hour 5 of shift, I usually fill up my Yeti with ice water and drink that quickly. Hydration is key to staying alert! I grab an energetic and healthy snack and sometimes walk to the backyard to catch some quick rays of sunshine.


Dr. Lungren

...grabbing a quick lunch usually if there is a conference with food around. On particularly busy days it's a large cup of coffee to go. My wishlist lunch would be DoorDash soy ramen but this doesn't travel well during walk & talks, unless it's Top Ramen I guess!


Dr. Davis

...walking around the hospital or walking outside for fresh air. I tend to use the downtime to call family and friends for quick 10-15 minute conversations.

Dr. Crawford

...breaking up the routine. I swing by colleagues' offices, walk on an under desk treadmill, do some stretching and grab my last coffee of the day. I prefer to break up the routine midway through to shake off the blinders when things get repetitive.


The quick resources I use to keep my skills sharp include...

Dr. Goni

...I keep my MacBook next to me during shifts to quickly look up information that I need to review. I use RSNA publications, usually Radiographics, Emergency Radiology sites like American Society of Emergency Radiology - @ASER_ERad on twitter, or MSK sites like Society of Skeletal Radiology - @SSRbone on Twitter. But, I’m really a book nerd; I have tons of books surrounding me in my home office and I still really like to use them!


Dr. Lungren

...whenever possible I make a point to read the newest work in the many great journals that I discover thanks to great colleagues around the world on #medtwitter - also will read almost anything from Fei-Fei Li, Jeremy Howard and Fast.ai, Andrew Ng, and the incredible medical imaging AI teams at Facebook, Google and other tech groups.


Dr. Davis

...Radiology Journal. I also follow several people in the radiology world on Twitter and Instagram who post imaging content daily like the American Society of Emergency Radiology (aser_radiology, @ASER_ERad).

Dr. Crawford

…the usual suspects like StatDx for real-time reference. Being able to collaborate with sharp colleagues is a true systems advantage when I need a second opinion on a case. Articles, conferences and videos are still my default for CME, mostly RSNA, ARRS and ASNR. Online neuroscience resources within and beyond the radiology domain are fascinating and help to tie concepts together, with well presented anatomy, cognitive analysis and connectomics sites being of interest lately.


After a shift I unwind by…

Dr. Goni

...After I shift, I first unwind by meditating or sitting in silence for a few moments before entering the mom/wife/home-organizer, driver, etc, mode.  Then, I’ll usually chat or text with girlfriends which is food for my soul! I’ll reach out to my close local friends, or I’ll scroll through my different chat groups that share common interests with me (Peloton, women physicians, even fashion!). Someone is bound to share a funny story or meme! Of course, I always love spending time with my three boys, and mostly, I just enjoy listening to their stories (as much as they’ll share — 2 teens and a pre teen!). They are an active and adventurous three! If one of them has a sporting event after my shift, you will find me at the field cheering them on!  I love watching them play.


Dr. Lungren

...dueling with my kids at Mario Kart. Recently my son’s been beating me more often and I've noticed his taunting skills are pretty strong even for a second grader - he's totally in my head during the game!


Dr. Davis

...watching Netflix or Hulu, or grabbing dinner and a good glass of wine with friends and having a lot of laughs.

Dr. Crawford

...focus on the day’s goals and plan a short list of tasks pertinent to the current shift that can be accomplished before reading. Usually this means responding to emails and phone calls as the system is logging on, following up with clinicians on cases that need their attention, and addressing administrative tasks. It’s then a relief to be able to focus on the single task of image interpretation.


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