September 8 2019 - If you're a recent healthcare grad trying to decide which specialty to enter, you might feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of options. But if you want to make a big difference in people's lives every day, a cardiology career may be the right choice.
One in four Americans (who die) die from heart disease every year, and more are suffering from its effects. Cardiology teams are an essential part of helping as many people survive and avoid the consequences of heart disease as possible.
Read on to learn more about the different types of cardiology jobs available.
Many people associate the entire field of cardiology with dramatic open-heart surgery. In reality, only some cardiac health doctors perform operations of that degree.
There are quite a few specialties within the realm of surgical cardiology. Their responsibilities range from minimally invasive procedures to full-on transplants.
Here are a few types of cardiologists you might find in a hospital or private practice.
An invasive cardiologist often diagnoses and treats patients with chronic heart conditions.
They are able to perform a few minor surgical procedures using a heart catheter. Even so, these are often only diagnostic in nature. An invasive cardiologist might work in a hospital setting or have a private practice.
Like invasive cardiologists, interventional cardiologists do procedures that involve a heart catheter. They can also perform complicated operations like angioplasties, clot lysis, and stent placement.
Click here for more info about the current market outlook for interventional cardiology.
A cardiothoracic surgeon performs operations in a patient's heart and chest area. A surgeon might complete an open-heart bypass surgery and drain a hemothorax on the same day.
Many cardiac surgeons also do floor rounds on the cardiac units of their hospital. This involves checking in on their patients both before and after their procedures. A good cardiac surgeon is resourceful, level-headed, and able to work with a team.
An electrophysiologist (EP) is a heart-rhythm specialist. They treat arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, premature heartbeat, or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.
They may perform non-invasive tests to identify problems with the heart's electrical conduction. They often prescribe medication to treat irregular rhythms and heart failure. An EP can also do some surgical procedures, including pacemaker implants and ablations.
Some cardiothoracic surgeons go through more training to become a heart transplant specialist.
Transplants are complicated, grueling, and high-risk. To be successful, transplant surgeons need to have very high levels of stamina. But when they do succeed, you can experience the joy of giving your patient a second chance at life.
Age-Related Cardiology Specialties
Would you rather work with children than adults any day? Does the idea of working only with the elderly make you smile? In either case, you should consider going into an age-related specialty.
Pediatric and geriatric cardiologists can choose to specialize in surgical or non-surgical care. Even so, they only treat patients within a certain age range.
Even if you aren't too keen on cutting people open, there's still room for you to work in cardiac health. Non-invasive cardiologists often work in private cardiac clinics. They specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and management of chronic heart conditions.
They may monitor patients that are at high risk for developing heart conditions. They also perform tests and imaging to diagnose unknown problems. If needed, a non-invasive cardiologist will refer patients to a cardiac surgeon for further treatment.
After surgery, they track patients' recovery and provide follow-up appointments. This is a good field to enter if you want to build long-term relationships with your patients.
A Cardiology Career Without an M.D.
You don't always have to get a doctorate of medicine to get involved in caring for people's cardiac health. You can take part in anything from recovery care to surgery with only a bachelor's degree.
A registered nurse has a lot of options to choose from when it comes to cardiology. They're an important part of the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process.
If you enjoy a quiet and calm atmosphere, you might like working in a private medical office. But if you prefer the fast-paced environment of a hospital, you might like being a cardiac floor nurse. If you have a surgical certificate, you may be able to assist in the operating room as well.
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist
After a patient has experienced a traumatic cardiac event, such as a heart attack, surgery, or severe illness, their heart will be weak. They'll need to regain their strength through a monitored exercise program. That's the job of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (also called cardiac rehab).
Yes, there are some cardiologists that specialize in cardiac rehab. But you don't need a doctorate to become part of the team. Nurses, therapists, dieticians, and rehab aides all work side-by-side to help patients recover.
Cardiac technicians work as part of the diagnostic team. They might be responsible for doing EKGs, cardiac stress tests, or imaging. They also may read and analyze test results to report back to their attending physician.
The requirements for this job can vary depending on your location and employer. You may need to get a certificate, associate's degree, diploma, or bachelor's degree. Other employers may offer on-the-job training.
The Field of Cardiology Is Full of Career Options
If you're looking for a cardiology career to enter after graduation, one of these specialties may be a good fit. Keep in mind that some doctors choose to work between more than one specialty. that some doctors choose to work between more than one specialty. For example, an electrophysiologist might also specialize in pediatrics.
We've only scratched the surface of the career options available in the realm of heart health. For more information about jobs in other sectors, check out the rest of our site.
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