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Faculty Focus with Dr Ahmed Abdrabou: The importance of attending courses

Revise Radiology

Revise Radiology

August 8th, 2023

Interview with Dr Ahmed Abdrabou

This article is a transcript of an interview with Cairo FRCR 2B Course examiner Dr Ahmed Abdrabou. Dr Abdrabou has been an examiner on a number of our courses and is working at Al Shams University Hospital which is the FRCR centre for exams in Cairo. Over his years of experience with FRCR registrars, he has accumulated a database of cases and is passionate about teaching.

Q. Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career to date?

I graduated from the School of Medicine, in 2002. I started my residency in 2004 and finished it in 2007. I have been a consultant radiologist since 2012. I sat my FRCR in 2010. It's a long history. I was a lecturer, from 2014-2023. I travelled to KSA and worked there for five years. I got back from KSA last year and returned to my original job. I’m working now as an assistant professor of radiology since this year, 2023. I'm working in a university hospital, Ain Shams University Hospital. We host the FRCR exam in our computer lab. The station is in my faculty. I was trained in this computer lab before and we had many exams, master’s degrees and MD degrees in this lab. So I'm familiar with it and with its crew, actually. I worked in Radiopaedia for about five to six years. I was an editor there and had many cases in Radiopaedia. I'm really interested in that. 

Q. What are your specialisations and interests and why did you choose them?

I am a general radiologist and I work everywhere, in the MSK, chest, cardiac, all of it. I’ve liked radiology since I was a student. I like imaging, these small images and figuring out how to the explore inside of the body without opening it. It's a very nice and very interesting thing actually. It's like a riddle. This person has some symptoms and you see the images. You can combine your knowledge with their symptoms and you get a full picture of this patient without touching. It's very interesting and very amazing. I'm interested in collecting cases and in teaching. I'm head of the residency training program’s resident department. So I’ve had probably more than 70 residents in my responsibility. I'm also interested in Neuroradiology and I got a diploma, the European Diploma of Neuroradiology in 2021. 

Q. What is your association with the Cairo FRCR 2B Course?

The first time, it was Maha Elaassar co-ordinating the course. Maha called and asked if I wanted to join the course, and I agreed. I had already run a course before. I did courses on FRCR Part 1 and 2A. This was my first time doing a 2B course. But it's actually the same. I was interested in the idea and so I participated. Since then I’ve joined other courses as well. I’ve joined the Vellore and South West courses. 

Q. Could you tell us a little bit about the Cairo FRCR 2B Course?

The Cairo course aims at promoting radiology knowledge and preparing trainees for the 2B exam. We have cases from Maha, Okba, Tamr, Elhagar and me. I have reviewed their cases, they are exam-oriented cases. I’m sure most of the candidates who attended our courses will agree that the cases are very important and cannot be missed in the exam. So I’d say the Cairo course prepares people and gives them tips that will help them in the exam. All our examiners are from Cairo. Some work in the UK, and some are from Ain Shams University in Cairo. 

Q. What is the most important thing a registrar needs to know when they sit the FRCR 2B exam?

I think any candidate wants to see as many cases as he can. Because it's about how many cases I can see. We have neuro and musculoskeletal cases, and chest cases, and all of them are important. The candidates need to see as much as they can. Another thing is knowing how to approach the case itself. The registrar must know how to systematically review the images. You need to find the clues in the film in order to solve the case. Because each case is like a riddle.

Q. Any particular advice to Radiologists from abroad trying to sit the FRCR?

My advice is to see as many cases as you can. If you see a lot of cases, you will be able to cover everything and will not be stressed in the exam. You can solve cases easily. If you concentrate on, for example, only on the emergency cases, you will miss the routine cases. And the exam has routine cases. So you have to combine everything together.

Look at emergency cases, routine cases, cancer patients, and every type of case. If you see more and more cases, and practice more and more, you will definitely have a better chance at passing the exam. Attending hotseats on courses will help you and can shorten the path to passing.

When you attend courses, you get an idea of how to approach the exam from the different examiners. And then you combine it all together. Similarly, when you sit the exam, you will have seen many cases earlier. And then you know that when you see this finding, you must then look for the next finding. So when you attend courses, you combine all this knowledge, and you can easily pass the exam the first time.

Q. How does joining an FRCR course help a registrar?

A registrar should participate in as many courses as they can. In the Cairo course, we are trying to show the candidates as many cases as we can. And we have a good collection. I’ve participated in the South West course and Vellore course the cases are very good.

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