A Career as a Cardiologist
If you are interested in providing health care to one of the body's most important organs – the heart – then a specialist career in cardiology or cardiac surgery may be a good choice for your future. Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are medical doctors who have specialised knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of health disorders relating to the cardiovascular system. This means the heart, blood vessels and many other parts of the body are a primary focus for a cardiologist. Also, a cardiologist does not only diagnose and treat disease, but will work in the area of prevention to help reduce the risks of conditions such as heart disease. A patient might visit a cardiologist to find out their risk factors for the disease, particularly if there is a significant family history of the disease.
A Day in the Life of a CardiologistWith such complicated conditions as heart disease, a cardiologist plays a vital role in patient health. While a patient may initially be diagnosed with heart disease by their general practitioner, otherwise known as their family doctor, they may then be referred to a cardiologist for specialised information and treatment. A cardiologist will evaluate the patient's symptoms and will also take a look at the patient's medical history. This serves to ensure that the diagnosis is indeed appropriate.
A cardiologist might even order additional tests to get a more firm or clear diagnosis. Afterwards, a cardiologist will consider what treatment avenue is best. Treatment may involve prescription drugs, lifestyle changes or more alternative methods. A patient may even require surgery, in which case the cardiologist will refer the patient to a cardiovascular surgeon. This type of surgeon has specialised knowledge of the heart, blood vessels and lungs. A cardiologist in this instance would still remain the primary doctor for treatment but would work cooperatively with other specialists in the area of cardiology.
Specialising Further in CardiologyAlthough cardiology is a specialist area in the medical field, a cardiologist can still choose to specialise even further in cardiac medicine if desired. The field is an extremely complex one, which means there is much scope for gaining in-depth knowledge for a particular area of cardiology. While all cardiologists will focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of cardiovascular disease and other cardiac conditions, some will go on further to specialise in areas such as paediatric cardiology, which involves working with children. Some cardiologists will also specialise in specific interventional procedures and cardiac surgery.
Another important area that cardiologists might participate in would be research. Some cardiologists are employed by research and pharmaceutical companies to guide research into new treatments and drugs to treat cardiovascular conditions. They may also sit on hospital committees where they provide advice and information regarding policy-making and similar areas. With numerous cardiovascular conditions significantly on the rise at present, the demand for cardiologists and cardiac surgeons is similarly high and the employment prospects are excellent.
Is Cardiology for me?While the field of cardiology may be interesting for you, it is not without its intense challenges. As such, there are certain traits that complement the role of a cardiologist. Cardiologists often have to deal with the psychology aspect of encouraging lifestyle changes in patients. Conditions such as heart disease can be addressed, in part, through lifestyle changes. Cardiologists may find it frustrating to deal with a patient who smokes and has a diet that encourages poor health rather than promotes it. Compassion, patience and the ability to relay practical information in a realistic and manageable way are all helpful traits for someone who might be interested to work as a cardiologist.
Cardiology might just be for you but it does involve many years of intensive study and numerous challenges with patients who have complex diseases. If the thought of helping people improve their health, longevity and cardiovascular wellness is appealing and you feel you have what it takes to become a cardiologist, then speak to cardiologists working in the field and consider asking an academic advisor for more information. You can soon be on your way to a rewarding career helping those with cardiovascular conditions.