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  • 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Annual Meeting Experience

  • Richard E Sharpe Jr, MD, MBA is a Breast Imaging Fellow at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and serves on the Vice Chairman of the RSNA Residents and Fellows Committee.

    Held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, the RSNA Annual Meeting draws more than 53,000 attendees. Successfully navigating the largest medical meeting in the world, especially if it’s your first time, may seem overwhelming. However, if you follow these five tips you are guaranteed to make the most of your meeting.

    1. Attend the Resident and Fellow Symposium and Essentials of Radiology courses.

    First things first: Work with your program to see which days you can attend. Remember, registration is free for you, and hotels near the conference fill up quickly, so book your hotel ASAP. If you don’t yet know which days you can attend, sign up for more hotel days than you may need; just be sure to notify the hotel of any changes by November 8.

    If you can only go for a couple days, make sure you go Wednesday so you can attend the all-day Resident and Fellow Symposium. This symposium covers employment options, the job search process, and legal aspects of radiology.

    You’ll also want to attend some of the Essentials of Radiology courses. This 2 ½ day series of 10 refresher courses is designed for trainees and spans a comprehensive list of subspecialties. 


    2. Make a schedule of must-see courses.

    There are hundreds of sessions at RSNA 2013. From 8:30 – 10 a.m. on Monday alone, there are 50 different sessions occurring simultaneously. A little planning goes a long way. Visit the online Meeting Program and filter events by day, course type or subspecialty to find the sessions that most interest you. Then, register for any courses that require a ticket. When My Meeting goes live, you will be able to make your schedule online and access it via the RSNA 2013 mobile app. Available in October, the RSNA 2013 app will also have maps for navigating McCormick Place, an exhibitor list, a QR code scanner for educational exhibits and drawings, and much more.

    3. When your boots hit the ground, seek out a guide.

    Pick up a residents and fellows brochure found alongside the subspecialty brochures in the kiosk before the Grand Concourse and in RSNA Services. If you have any questions during the meeting, just ask any RSNA or McCormick Place staff member, or another meeting participant. RSNA Services staff in Lakeside Center can offer you help on everything, from using the RSNA 2013 mobile app to navigating McCormick Place or just recommending somewhere in the city to grab dinner or a drink. Want to explore what Chicago has to offer? RSNA offers exclusive Tours and Events.

    4. Make use of your down time.

    There are tons of nonscheduled things to do at McCormick Place. Visit Lakeside Center to browse posters and storyboards which run the gamut of radiology topics. Take a stab at unknown cases by visiting the Case of the Day kiosks. Visit the subspecialty areas to meet people who share your interests. Stop by the Residents and Fellows Lounge to grab a snack and meet other trainees. Head over to the exhibit hall to browse book titles in Publishers Row, meet vendors, and see what products are coming down the pipeline. Be on the lookout for free education resources, espresso and foot massagers, among other great finds.

    Residents Lounge

    5. Have a backup plan.

    Whether or not you will be in Chicago for RSNA 2013, you should definitely sign up for the Virtual Meeting. Registration is free and you can watch up to 40 live sessions and access them on-demand through December 13. All of the “Essentials” sessions are included, so be sure to watch them at RSNA 2013 or upon return home. You can also see live exhibitor demonstrations and submit your diagnosis for Cases of the Day.

     Case of the Day 


    The Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to not only advance your knowledge about the area you’re pursuing, but to pique interests in different modalities or subspecialities. It’s the best opportunity to network and ask questions to experienced doctors from around the globe about jobs and their day-to-day. Combine a dose of planning, some spontaneity, and a willingness to ask questions and take part in new experiences, and you will have a winning recipe for an educational and fun meeting.