Just like other boys in my village, I wanted to be someone “big” and useful in the society while growing up. When asked what I wanted to be later in life, I would think of nothing else, but being a doctor. The name commanded respect, and everyone would part me in the back to encourage me on my path towards success. I knew that being a doctor paid extremely well; I would drive a car and build an incredibly large house for myself. Little did I know that, the doctoral field was vast and it had many other careers. There was this little girl in my neighborhood that was always sickly and rarely played outside. I never understood what was wrong with her until some few years back when I was told that she suffered from a certain heart disease. I felt pity on her instantly. From then on, I vowed to help her when I become a doctor. For those interested in working in the medicinal field, especially in treating heart disorders, then a career in cardiology is the way to go.
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Who exactly is a cardiologist? By definition, a cardiologist is an internal physician that specializes in the heart, as well as, the blood vessels (American College of Cardiology Foundation). Despite the favorable high salaries and career prospects, cardiologists have to go through several years of training and have to work a lot of over time while on the job. A cardiologist diagnoses, prevents and/or treats cardiovascular disorders. Examples of such disorders may include pericarditis, cardiac dysrhythmias, valvular heart disease, hypertension, myocarditis, pericarditis, endocarditis, and congenital heart disease. Cardiologists employ various medical approaches in examining and treating patients. For instance, they may use non-invasive cardiology equipment for diagnosis, such as nuclear tracers and echocardiographs. They also use invasive form of treatments; they may insert catheters, stents or balloons into the human body.
A career in Cardiology is an immense opportunity. According to BLS reports, surgeons and physicians employment was forecasted to grow 24 percent from 2010 to 2020. Job opportunities are also favorable because cardiologists will be needed to offer quality healthcare to the ever growing elderly population. Cardiologists should expect to find good job prospects in the rural or underserved areas. The salary is good too. According to salary.com, invasive cardiologists rake a median salary of about $360,000 each year while there non-invasive counterparts make about $316, 000 as of March, 2012.
While this may sound subtle, one has to put in a lot of effort before becoming a cardiologist or a doctor for that matter. First and foremost, one has to earn an undergraduate degree, which should then prepare you for medical school. There is no set part for such level of education; therefore, it is even better if one completes a degree program, which focuses on the subjects of math, physics and science in general (Martin and Martin, 67). After completing the undergraduate program, you will then have to apply to med school by sending in the all the transcripts and also pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). Here, you have to stand out from the rest and be spectacular in extracurricular activities because of the competition involved. It takes about four years in medical school. All doctors have to be licensed before they can start practicing. A cardiologist, just like other doctors, has to pass the US Medical Licensing Exam or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam for licensure. Education and study in this field is continuous because of the ever-changing medical advances in the field.
After med school, training cardiologists have to complete a 2 to 6 year residency program. The good thing with such programs is that you are paid while participating in them. Furthermore, residents gain a lot of experience under the watch of other licensed physicians. Cardiologist employers usually demand that applicants possess the required license and educational background. To beat the competition involved in this field, it is paramount that one gains extensive knowledge, and also experience in the field of medicine (Peto, 53). As a cardiologist, one can follow sub-specialty board certifications in interventional cardiology, internal medicine, cardiac electrophysiology, and cardiovascular disease among many other areas. To obtain these certifications in the sub-field of cardiology, one has to pass a variety of exams besides meeting certain requirements.
Cardiology is a somewhat intricate field; therefore, various cardiologists specialize in different areas. However, it is significant to note that all cardiologists are clinical cardiologists who have to focus on preventing cardiovascular disease, and the diagnosis, as well as the use of medicines. Some clinical cardiologists, like me, specialize in pediatric cardiology. By this, I mean that they diagnose and treat heart problems in young children. Clinical cardiologists who focus on treating only adults have to specialize in adult cardiology (Purcell and Kalra, 86). The rest of the cardiologists may choose to specialize in electrophysiology, echocardiography, and interventional procedures like stent placement and balloon angioplasty.
When it comes to issues that deal with complex heart conditions, for instance, the heart disease, it is always crucial that a patient finds that right match between them and their specialist. Diagnosis of a vascular disease or the heart usually begins with a primary care doctor, who will then refer a patient to a cardiologist. The cardiologist begins with the evaluation of all the patient symptoms, their medical history. They may then recommend several tests to ensure there is a more definite diagnosis. From here, the cardiologist will determine whether the condition can be dealt with via the use of medicines or other forms of treatment. Patients that require surgery will be referred to a cardiovascular surgeon, who specializes in operating the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Notably, a patient remains under the care of their cardiologist even when referred to other types of specialists.
As a medical practitioner, I must promote actual accountability based on the medical standards set in my country. That is how the public will trust in me. By participating in the lifelong course of testing and improving human lives, I will be contributing towards improving the general health care in my country and also show the public that we are here to serve them. The continuous patient assessment gives me an opportunity to interact with my patients in a unique way. It is the responsibility of us medical practitioners to maintain and develop the quality of health care. It means implementing all the practice guidelines that govern the profession. On my part, I will ensure that I work towards reducing medical errors. It is imperative that I measure my personal performance because it helps me to maintain and improve healthcare within my own community and the world at large. As a specialist, I have the opportunity to embody a profession that enjoy the freedom to govern itself, which also means that I have to safeguard this by doing exactly that.
As a cardiologist, I believe I will be able to offer treatment to persons suffering from heart diseases even more that other physicians. As a cardiologist, I believe my duty will be to educate the public and my patients regarding their cardiovascular health. There is still a lot of room for improvement in Pakistan’s medical sector. People in my village need a lot of education about matters dealing cardiovascular health. If they are to turn to me for the best care when they fall ill, then I must assist them to preserve their overall health when they are well. It is a good thing that there is a World Heart Day on the 30th of September, which in itself, is a World Heart Month. During this month, I will ensure that I join other organizations in Pakistan and around the world to spread the word regarding the risk factors associated with the heart disease. It is essential to note that, heart disease is the number one slayer of people in the world. My part in this whole effort will be to work with other doctors to educate the public on how to manage and prevent cardiovascular disease.
There have been numerous achievements in the past in regards to the field of cardiology. I believe that our field is still evolving. Despite all the tremendous progress, there are still a few areas that pose significant challenges in this field. Some of them include invasive treatment for arrhythmias and heart failure, genetic screening, gene therapy, new surgical procedures, home monitoring, tissue modification, and risk assessment. This is where I strive to make an impact, especially in researching for new drugs that would help treat patients with heart diseases (Yusuf, Cairns and Camm, 43).
We all contribute to the universe in one way or another. This is how I intend to do my part. Cardiology is a field that impacts the world in a tremendous way. I believe that by focusing on helping children with heart diseases, I will be helping the society in my own small way. This has been my dream all through, become a doctor, and a cardiologist for that matter. Besides helping my community, and the world at large, a career in cardiology will help me live a good life, something that I have desire ever since I was young. My father works as a laborer. Despite putting his best into the work, I want to believe that it is not as paying as being a cardiologist. Pakistan, my beloved country is still developing despite the many setbacks and problems that face it. I would like to open a small health facility in my rural village where I grew up as a young man. They do not have even the most basic if medicines like Tylenol. In addition, I would also wish to carry on with the research to lower heart disease in America. In the end, I would have done my part in this world.