Accessorizing the reading room

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
pdf path


Dr. Phillips is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head and Neck Imaging, at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.

It has been pretty cold here lately, and we have had our fair share of snow. Some days are pretty cold, too. So, okay, cold and snowy is cool when you’re going skiing. When you’re going to work, however, it just makes the trip partially miserable. We are a digital workforce, however, and we have the ability to work at home. The question seems to be whether or not you could maintain focus and work there. And that,my friends, is where we have trouble.

The radiologist’s workplace is a reading room. Or an office with dim lights and a comfortable chair. But contemplate all the reading room accessories you have come to expect and accommodate. Here are just a few.

My favorite reading room chair has a big wad of years-old gum under the cushion in the front, left corner. Just about an inch back.Spearmint, once upon a time. I think. Really need that. And the work desk has a switch to adjust its height that I invariably hit with my elbow when I get stumped by a case and put my right elbow on the desktop. That’s another must.

How about the gurgling water cooler in the back corner? Damn, that thing sounds obscene about 4 or 5 times an hour. And the plastic cups destined for the trash that instead hit the floor, accompanied by a soft curse, and someone has to walk over and get it off the floor and put it in.


Wow. Just getting started. There is a printer in there, no longer used for much. We are paperless. So, I guess we don’t need a printer, but there it sits, blinking red and occasionally beeping forlornly for toner (which I still have no earthly idea how it differs from ink) or maybe paper. Once a week, it prints an activity log. Which sits in the receiver until pushed to the floor by the next activity log next week. To the floor, eventually. A PC beside it, on another stand. That is supposed to be for outside cases. The desk height is just right to not be correct for either sitting or standing. Have to have that at home, too. And, a bathroom just outside the door. Public use, naturally! Great sounds from in there every so often.

And, finally, the never-ending cycle of people coming to consult. Twelve times on each case because once is just not enough. Nope. We have nothing else to do. Okay. So, maybe the working at home idea isn’t so bad. Maybe I could maintain my focus. Mahalo.

Back To Top

Accessorizing the reading room.  Appl Radiol. 

November 30, 2011

Copyright © Anderson Publishing 2020