Trying to figure out what kind of doctor you should become? Wondering what specialty you should choose? Then SheMD's Why Specialty Series is perfect for you! We're bringing you female physicians sharing WHY they chose their specialty. Today's post is on why Dr. Gudipati chose the field of Cardiology and why Cardiology is a great field for all.
Both of my parents are physicians. My mom's an infectious disease specialist and my dad is an interventional cardiologist. I grew up seeing their different lifestyles. While both worked incredibly hard, I saw my mom fielding phone calls about infections and my dad running into the hospital in the middle of the night for a heart attack. Truthfully, neither field really appealed to me initially. So when I started my Internal Medicine residency, I was looking to pursue a career in Rheumatology or Hematology/Oncology. After all, there were a lot of females in both fields and that allowed me to see a future for myself in them. I also had a rebellious streak and didn't want to follow in my parents' footsteps. I had my first cardiology rotation at the end of my intern year in the cardiac critical care unit. That's when my mindset completely changed. I saw patients coming into the hospital on the verge of death in cardiogenic shock be saved. Those coming in with severe AS feel instantly better after having a TAVR. But also the subtler benefits of the field such as reducing an LDL with the use of a PCSK-9 inhibitor in the clinic to help mitigate a patient's future risk of a heart attack. That's when I realized, the beauty of cardiology and the true positive impact you can have on another person's life both in preventing them from fatal events and saving them if they do occur.
So without further adieu here are the top 5 reasons you should choose cardiology:
1. Variety is the spice of life.
One of the best aspects of the field is the diversity of patient encounters. On a given day you could be taking care of someone in cardiogenic shock, bread and butter heart failure, a heart attack, arrhythmia or even leg ischemia. Then you go to clinic where you get to try to prevent these same patients from coming back to the hospital. The acuity and complexity of every case differ and it makes coming to work exciting. Like opening a box of a variety of chocolates.
2. There's a niche for everyone.
In cardiology, there are so many ways to tailor your career to fit your likes and needs. Do you like doing procedures? Interventional or Electrophysiology is a path to choose. Imaging suits you best? You can specialize in reading cardiac MRIs, CTs, and transesophageal echocardiograms.
Whatever your desires may be, you can find a niche in Cardiology
3. Instant gratification
A huge motivator for me is being able to see that I'm making a positive impact on someone's life. Being able to offer treatments that can make instant benefits to patients is an amazing aspect of the field. For someone with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, you can within the matter of a few hours not only improve their symptoms but offer them a mortality benefit by placing a TAVR. The same goes with a patient with a heart attack by placing a stent in a blocked artery. The ever-evolving technology and tools that we have to help patients allow for instant gratification and that is always gratifying to see.
4. Longitudinal patient interactions
In cardiology, you get the best of both worlds. You can see patients in clinic, follow them into the hospital if they're admitted, and do interventions on them if they need procedures. In this way, you can really form meaningful relationships with your patients. It's nice that even in being a proceduralist, you get the benefit of treating the patient continuously for their cardiac problems.
5. It Takes a Village
To become a successful cardiologist or really any physician it takes having access to great mentors to guide you along your journey. While there are not many women in cardiology currently, there are many willing female and male mentors to help support you. With programs such as women in cardiology and SCAIWIN, mentors are available to help you navigate being a woman in the field and finding a lifestyle that works best for you.