Duties and Responsibilities

The Wet Desk

In the past, the "wet desk" was the online film consultation service in a busy x-ray department. It was called the wet desk because the radiologist was often asked to review x-rays that were still in film processing tanks and had not been hand passed to the dryers (which took another 20 minutes). Even though we have gone from hand processing, to automatic processors, and now to PACS, the name is still appropriate for online image consultation.

There is a resident run wet desk in the emergency radiology reading room from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays and weekends. The residents develop a schedule with daily assignments to the wet desk appropriate for their service obligations. This schedule usually accommodates special circumstances, such as excluding residents who are assigned away from the main department, i.e., WBAMC for nuclear medicine, mammography, pediatric radiology at EPCH and interventional radiology, when possible.

PGY2 residents receive additional wet desk experience during their emergency radiology rotations.

The faculty member assigned to ER coverage provides coverage on-site or by telephone transfer during conferences and lunch. Other residents cover when the assigned resident needs to be away.

The residents manning the wet desk may continue to work on their service obligations, but primarily answer all telephone and on-site consult requests and/or refer them to the appropriate reading station. It is acceptable to jot down the identifying information and to call back with a report within a reasonable time frame. All verbal consultations need to be accompanied by a written preliminary note in the PACS. As with other preliminary reports, major discrepancies with the final written report need to be communicated to a referring physician as a critical finding.

The wet desk reading station is located in the emergency radiology suite. PGY2 residents are always supervised with in-house faculty.

Night Call and Weekend Duties

Day Call

PGY2 residents cover the wet desk on the weekends. Shifts are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. PGY2 residents alternate the weekend shifts. The average is one or two weekend calls per month.

At least one faculty is always present during the weekend.

Night Call

PGY3 to PGY5 cover the wet desk on the weekends during the night. Shifts are 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday night. The average for a call varies depending on the PGY year.

A faculty is also present in-house at night seven days a week from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Night Float

Night float rotation blocks:

  • PGY2: No night float rotation
  • PGY3: Two blocks of night float rotations (usually one month per semester)
  • PGY4: One block of night float rotation
  • PGY5: One block of night float rotation

The night float resident works five days a week from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.


Vacation may be approved for no more than 15 working days for PGY2 and no more than 20 working days for PGY3 and above. Approval is subject to residency program requirements. Away days for conference or interviews do not count as vacation days, within limitations. Timing and scheduling of vacations is at the discretion of the individual services. Vacation benefits do not carry forward from year to year and must be taken within the current contract agreement year. Unused vacation benefits are not paid upon completion or termination of the agreement.

Leave request forms must be completed by the resident and fellow, signed by the resident coordinator and the appropriate section-chief prior to submission to the chief residents. No more than one week of vacation per three blocks of service assignment is permitted.

Approval for more than one consecutive week of vacation must be scheduled before the beginning of the year so that it can span two blocks (last week of one and first week of the other). Approval is not guaranteed.

Every effort is made to allow residents and fellows to obtain vacation when they wish, provided service assignments and night/weekend call can be adequately covered. They can expect to have limited vacation time available during July when fewer trained residents are on duty. Times of the major radiological meetings (RSNA, ARRS, AUR) and American Board of Radiology or in-service examination times are also not suitable for vacation.