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Dr Haroons Training Centre

New courses and old courses

The last few months have been very challenging for me . Challenging not in the bad sense but in a very good sense . I increasingly train students for competitive exams and this makes me prepare as hard as the students themselves . I refer a lot , burn the midnight oil .  This is because compared to teaching students for regular exams , competitive exams involve really being on top . I mean like a car made to accelerate to the top speed . Its challenging but exciting . 

I do take classes for some exams  australia  and  canada  in addition to FRCR all primarily focussed on radiology physics part , radiology anatomy part etc . These classes are primarily for radiologists and radiology technologists .

Increasingly I have got takers for MBA in healthcare domain also  and the biostatistics part has been introduced in an easily  understandable and digestible format .  I am thankful to the doctors who are both senior and junior who used my services in learning tough subjects . 

Nope i am not jack of all trades ( who is jack?? :)  ) but still feel free to ring me up in case you find any of technical subjects related to radiology , radiology physics or biostatistics , including some healthcare MBA subjects too difficult in exams . For those outside kerala classes can be arranged through online . 

All the old courses including MRI basics , cardiac CT , MDCT basics , FRCR part 1 trainings are there in addition to the newer courses .  Customised levels of training as well as duration depending on the individual student in very small batches . Your  feedback is more important than anything . 

The importance of transferable skills

Three different people from different backgrounds . First , my good friend who was an engineer is now in a startup which is 0 percent related to engineering . Then there is the subcollector who is in the limelight in munnar controversy for taking a tough stand against politicians is an IAS who has an MBBS background . And lastly,  some of my students who come for domain training in CT and MRI are electronic engineers or software engineers who need domain knowledge in biomedical  for their job . These three different categories of people apparently have nothing in common . 

But all of them have one thing in common . They use some skill which they got during their earlier years and used it in a different form at a later stage of career possibly even  a different career .

This is the era where traditional job boundaries and career boundaries are blurring . Take the first case of my good friend , The first time i met him years back he was staring into a multicrore machine . I was thinking how this small person was going to repair this machine which has at least a thousand microprocessors and works at 120,000 volts . Yes i am talking of a CT scanner . But within hours to my dismay he has repaired it and i could use it to do my work of teaching cardiac CT . Recently he is into a startup which is 0 percent related to engineering . But the way he is planning it makes me think about the mark of an engineer -- the step by step planning to solve  a problem . Just like a huge CT scanners problem can be broken down into simple steps the same way a startup needs planning and troubleshooting . And though startups success can never be predicted 100 percent i am sure the transferable skill of his will go a long way in ensuring the success of his venture . 

 

Coming to the second person , the subcollector . It needs guts to stand up against politicians and that too against the ruling political party . It may look easy on paper but needs enormous guts and courage . Of course if you have studied in a medical college and taken medical training seriously one of the things you develop is mental toughness . Seeing life and death in close quarters , dealing with stress of which academics is only part of it gives enormous mental strength after you pass MBBS . Coming from such a background a tough stand against politicians is just one more challenge which had to be tackled and he is doing that beautifully . 

And lastly what are electronic engineers doing in CT and MRI ?  Shouldnt they be manufacturing electronic calculators ?  Thanks to modern technologies complexity most of the technologies we use are complex . Especially in complex machinery like CT and MRI at some stage there are inputs of Biomedical engineers , electronic engineers , software engineers , medical physicists , even doctors . When a software or electronic engineer with zero medical background is involved in this their skills are used in a different field . There are some areas where only a core biomedical engineer can do but there are areas where other engineers can use their expertise , of course , with some domain training . 

The times are very challenging as well as interesting . Thats the case even if you are a job seeker fresh out of college or an established person with many years of work experience . With a job for life these days a mirage its very important that we focus on our transferable skills whether we are planning to be an entrepreneur or fight the politicians . Fighting politicians ...hmmmm ... scary thought indeed . Kudos to the subcollector who has the guts to do it , And yes , he is from my college trivandrum medical college( did his IAS after passing out from Govt Medical college , Thiruvananthapuram )   .. proud of him.  

On inspiring people and getting inspired

Teaching is always a two way process . On inspiring people and getting inspired by them . For , i believe , if we just want to gain some knowledge a textbook is more than enough . There is no need of a trainer/teacher . 

Being a night owl who can easily study into the wee hours of the night waking up in the early  mornings was always a pain . But during one of the postings during MBBS by Professor Dr Joy Philip i was always excited to wake up early . For his classes inspired with the right amount of humour and the general enthusiasm for the subject .  . MBBS was so vast but his classes we still remember even after decades because he used to inspire us and that helped learning the subject too . Even my entrepreneurial skills seeds also was not frowned upon as i had a small medical book business during MBBS. This teacher used to inspire whatever talent his students had .

Two weeks back i attended a lecture by Dr Anirudh Kohli a radiologist from mumbai . I had attended his lectures decades back when i was a postgraduate student  in Radiodiagnosis . But, even now,  his lectures inspire me . The passion shows in his lectures and the same topic still after decades makes me remember the main contents . Thats unusual because we attend many lectures over many years . 

Inspiring is not limited to clinical subjects . Be it the kungfu teacher who inspires his student to fight like a shaolin monk or the guitar teacher who inspires his student to strum the guitar like a rockstar , inspiring is one of the important elements of teaching . And if you think online lectures can be uninspiring there too as long as a human being delivers a lecture in online courseware ( i have attended coursera and edx online courses ) the distinction between inspiring and uninspiring teachers are distinct . 

Now , what about students inspiring teachers . As any teacher who interacts with students knows , students enable teachers to further advance in their knowledge . No class is complete without students questions and these enable teachers to explore new realms of the subject . No teacher knows the answer to all possible questions at any given instance but the inquisitive student pushes the teacher too to his limits of exploration . And lastly when training students of different backgrounds that also is additional inspiration to the teacher to think out of the box . I have taught students who are biomedical engineers , software engineers , radiologists and postgraduates . Each bring their own unique background to the class room . 

Teaching like medical profession  is not just another job .It involves real commitment and passion whatever be the subject . And frankly , if a teacher cannot say , his/her job is not inspiring people its better that he does something else . Did i inspire any of my students other than inspiring them to sleep in class ?  Should wake them up and ask them next time :)  

Lastly thanks for taking my blog and website  to the 30000+ mark . Wishing you all a wonderful new year ahead 

proud teacher radiology domain fundamentals

There is a unique joy of being a trainer  when your students do well .  Of course being a trainer in medical field it translates to students,  be it radiologists or technologists do better scans be it a cardiac CT or virtual colonoscopy .  And also biomedical engineers who excel in selling biomedical and imaging products . 

But sometimes like in Mahabharatha your favorite students are in two sides . This sometimes happen when one set of students  is radiologists trained by me asking pertinent questions to medical device vendors be it temporal resolution of a CT scanner or gradient strength of an MRI .  And on the other side is the vendor who again is trained by me highlighting their product and trying to sell it to radiologists and hospital managements  . There is conflict if the vendor tries to missell the product but with the right attitude each of these radiologist-vendor meetings can be an opportunity to highlight the strengths , address weaknesses and build long term relationship and sales . . 

I remember sometime back i went to purchase a bag in a bag shop and the salesgirl instead of pushing a costly bag to  me was telling me " Sir , that bag wont suit your requirements "  .That is rare a salesperson talking against the product which she was selling but in the big picture that was indeed the correct move . Though that particular sale may or may not happen the customer will definitely prefer that shop for future purchases . 

Be it a bag or a CT scanner a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your product is very important and most importantly identify customer needs and sell the product or customise  it according to the customers  needs . And get training in house or outsourced about the product as well as the fundamentals of the domain area you are working in .

I remember the curiosity in the faces of the engineers who came for radiology domain basics  training and also the feedback that they are able to face customers better after the classes . They are better equipped to leverage their strengths when  facing the customers instead of blindly trying to sell their product to any customer .

Its said a good salesman can sell winter clothes in midday in the desert but that was because he knew the customer was heading to an arctic expedition next day. Point is know your customer and your product thoroughly , Dont mis-sell but sell to give customer delight .  

Student personality and the trainer

I enjoy each of my training sessions . It is not only because I get to do the job I love but also because each of my students (mostly doctors and biomedical engineers ) come with a unique background and personality . Being a human -human interaction it is inevitable that both the trainer as well as the student understands some aspect of the others personality . Its fascinating to watch especially if you are interested in human psychology to observe how in small ways people show the extent of their focus , patience , humor etc .

Recently I was surprised when both  of my student duo both doctors asked me to take a break . I usually give  short  breaks to my students after 45 minutes to an hour and a longer break later . But this time they were telling they don't need a break and if I need one I can take it. . And I am not teaching the plot of a Hollywood movie but subjects in CT and MRI which though interesting is not as gripping to hold attention for 3 hours flat . I mentioned it after the class about their focus but frankly I was really impressed about their focus . I am sure this same level of focus will be there in their career .

I have been fortunate to teach MRI applications in various specialties to some leading consultants in Trivandrum and again though I take shorter sessions for them , its easy to see why some of them are very successful in their practice . The way they ask questions , their humility , their focus which gets reflected in the interactive training sessions could be the reason they are successful in their practice .

Medicine including  radiology is advancing by leaps and bounds . A humble attitude and a curiosity towards learning , asking questions , and focus is of utmost importance if want to really make a difference in these competitive times .

MRI applications training and consultants

Though each of  the students or customers in the training field i interact with are interesting ,I really get fascinated when i show around the latest MRI applications to consultants of different specialties , Especially I  enjoy it ,because its a two way learning process . Because though in MRI applications i know ( or supposed to know :) ) more than them , when interacting with each specialist i learn more about their specialty , its challenges and recent clinical advances . 

Being referral consultants ,its nice to know when they appreciate radiology reports . But when some of them say so before ordering a specialised radiology scan we should and will talk to the radiologist first i feel happy that they appreciate the complexity as well as the amazing development in imaging field which happens every year . From iron quantification in liver which may be helpful in certain blood diseases to imaging in leukemia there are umpteen number of areas where knowledge of  the radiology armamentarium is useful for the referring consultant . 

Maybe its mere coincidence but a walk in kovalam beach with my friend doctor from germany made me aware that in europe consultants have mandatory trainings which lasts for more than a week without which they cannot refer a patient for radiologic investigation . With all the quality control systems happening in india hopefully such trainings become widespread in india too . On a lighter note , both of us ( me and my friend doctor ) are not nerds . This discussion of  radiology was only 1 percent of our conversation in kovalam beach . Rest was metaphysics :)  

Feedbacks in trainings

How good are you as a trainer ?  Though we all would like to believe we are good or bad or somewhere in between its upto the student to rate you . Of course this doesnt mean a bad teacher shouldnt have the satisfaction of teaching or that students are always right . But just as statistics do give a clue feedback from multiple students always give some idea whether your trainings are effective . It may be ego boosting or ego bashing but as a  teacher one of your aims is to be effective in your teaching which is more important than even infinite amount of knowledge , Even if you are world number one in  knowledge if you cant convey it effectively to the student you are not a good teacher . Either improve or dont train others . 

Long ago i was offered a four figure amount for an hours class in a leading biomedical engineering college . I still remember me telling please allow me to collect detailed feedback from the class instead of the remuneration . Of course a certificate too . Though that was long ago those forms are still with me and i feel really happy seeing it .

The same goes with endless questioning from many students when you take classes . Though unwritten feedback that shows they were listening to your lecture instead of drawing pictures or sleeping . Teacher evaluations these days are taken seriously but still overall i still believe feedback is vital for a trainer . 

In our predegree class and even rarely in MBBS classes some teachers used to get paper rockets . I promise i never had sent one but thinking back was it just naughtiness or an ineffective teaching which promoted some people to devote more time in paper rocket construction than listening to the lecture . I dont know . Anyway get feedback when you do any training activity  . Paper rocket construction and aerodynamics we will  have a separate class :)  

Radio - holiday

I am biased  about thiruvananthapuram , the capital city of Gods own country kerala .  But recently i am meeting many people including my students who say trivandrum is one of the beautiful places they have seen . Having lived in this city and visited its tourist attractions ( more than 50 touristy spots )  i couldnt agree more . It has more touristy spots easily accessible from the city centre than many other cities . And within a 2 hr car ride options widen further from nature treks to world famous beaches to palaces . 

When i started my training venture and also started giving trainings to hospitals in trivandrum i never thought about this angle . Of course for a local student be it a doctor or biomedical engineer it doesnt make a difference but for the student coming from another city or state its a great opportunity to learn the nuances of CT scans or MRIs or their choice of healthcare topic and then in the evenings visit or escape :)  to the touristy attractions of trivandrum . 

I have encountered many who go even abroad for trainings or conferences but spend all their time within four walls of the conference hall . Actually there is no point in travelling like that  considering the airfare costs and hotel costs . If a conference or training is conducted that place should be explored . I strongly encourage my outstation students to explore the city after classes . Actually i find that helps them be fresh in the next day especially in multiday classes covering many modalities . 

Though terms like radiobiology and radiodaignosis is our areas of interest i think Radio -holiday( combining radiology classes in daytime  and holidaying in the evenings ) wont be a bad idea with customised courses which are subject  intensive ( mainly CT and MRI  and medical domain trainings )   but which gives sufficient time for an evening dip in kovalam beach or a stroll in museum grounds or near kanakakunnu palace .  Welcome to Gods own capital thiruvananthapuram . 

beyond spinning : MRI and sufiism

Recently i saw a video of a sufi whirling in google . It is a worship dance symbolic in many ways of planetary motion and shedding of ones ego . Anyway it is awesome to watch and watch it either live or in google . The spinning motion and its symbolism is not a new thing and from spin of planets to the spin of protons in human body the spinning is found in so many amazing natural phenomena . 

Of course many of these spinning motions is quantified by physics and the spinning of the protons and later its precessional movement in the magnetic field of MRI scanner is one of the basics of MRI imaging . What will happen if there was no spinning motion of protons . MRI imaging will cease to exist and there will be no MRI images with its phenomenal image contrast helping in diagnosis of diseases from stroke to cancer and beyond . 

Just like if the sufis stop spinning it ceases to be a dance , the stopping of spinning of the earth will cause perpetual day or perpetual night and either case will be fatal to the entire mankind . 

Let me be honest , inspite of extensive reading on many many topics i hadnt read much on sufi dance till recently . The same goes with MRI . Though most radiologists report on MRI images few go in depth about this amazing scanner . The reason is you can go about day to day life easily without knowing what is sufi dance or about MRI spins . But knowing more about these will increase your passion for these things and maybe galvanise both your career and life . 

Nope i am not going to sufi dance from tomorrow , But i will incorporate the spinning concept when i teach about the protons in body interacting with MRI magnet when teaching MRI fundamentals . And maybe learn some sufi music too as a hobby . 

Beyond shadows ..Radiology

Always when you look back you will realise the true importance of things . As i have blogged earlier radiology is quite different from the typical doctor . So many differences starting with the cumpulsory airconditioned environment (its for our costly machines not for us :) )  , the distance from the disease , etc etc . But frankly compared to a "typical " doctor the experiences are less . The average radiologist who is more technically inclined and interested in more fixed hours is less bothered by it but it remains a truth . 

But still though daily used to be a tailor measuring fetuses and checking their growth in antenatal ultrasound and checking whether the follicles are growing in women treated for infertility i still remember the day when i scanned the patient ten years back .  She came for "infertility  "   .. No children . The social implications , the cost of treatment and the varying results of infertility is known but it was one of my most satisfying scans . 
Inside the uterus there was a white structure . Easy to diagnose but the implications were terrific .  It was an intrauterine contraceptive device .  Put many years back all had forgotten about it including the patient and many years back she had come for infertility . Probably she would have conceived and her children would be running around now  ...

Head injuries are common and CT scans especially of the head is the bread and butter of the radiologist . From the "coconut falling on head "  to head on head collisions CT is a highly accurate modality for diagnosing head injury  . And even for a fresh tutor who has joined in a busy teaching hospital head injury is easy to diagnose . But my first case was a kick in the abdomen . Though for an experienced radiologist abdominal injury is easy for a fresher especially when i found one kidney missing things were not easy  ...
(this was before the kidney scam era when any missing kidney was attributed to surgical removal )  ..
I still cant figure out how the person managed to kick the only kidney the patient had albeit whose only kidney was having a fusion abnormality from birth  .   Anyway "my first patient " though his abnormally fused kidney had an injury recovered completely though the grading  of injury  as well as the fused kidney status revealed by CT scan significantly altered the treatment  ..

Doing carotid doppler on one of my favourite singers as well as seeing the maskara artifact in MRI of popular film actress i would say the bonus of the profession .  And yes both studies were normal (but cant reveal their identities :)) 

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