MSIII 5/6ths Confused about Specialty choice!!!!

Discussion in 'Cardiology' started by Venom, May 20, 2005.

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  1. Venom

    Venom Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    I have been interested in cardiology since first year after seeing an echo for the first time. I find the heart and CV diseases absolutely fascinating. I am currently doing research in hypertension. I even attend lectures outside of med school regarding cards. I really like IM with the broad specturm of diseases and patient contact. I am especially interested in preventative cardiology and non-invasive imaging.

    However, the problem is I heard such discouraging things about Cards from the website. I am female, I want to have time for my family/children and enjoy hobbies. Life is to short to be married to your work. I have tried to consider all the "lifestyle" specialties but they don't really appeal to me. I find Derm, Optho, anesthesiology boring. Rads looks interesting but I really love talking to patients and their families.

    So what should I do? Cards is so competive and apparently the lifestyle sucks. Do I need consider Rads more seriously? :confused:
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  3. ntmed

    ntmed Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2004
    A lot of good people contribute to this forum. But because of the nature of online communities, sometimes the responses tend to be along the extremes -- either very positive or very negative. So I would be careful about basing my opinion solely on what was said here.

    I'm also am interested in cardiology. There are a number of things you can do to help you decide about lifestyle and other issues.

    1. Find a cardiology mentor from the faculty at your school.

    2. Talk to a couple cardiology fellows at your school (if you have any), or to any residents planning on going into cardiology. They might be able to give you objective feedback on some of your concerns.

    3. You mentioned that you want time for family/children. Maybe can offer some advice, too.

    4. Do a cardiology elective or two at your school as early as possible in 4th year.

    5. If you're considering any of the other specialties you mentioned, maybe also do early electives in these areas.
  4. Furrball2

    Furrball2 Stll Faking Sincerity 5+ Year Member

    May 21, 2005
    Good advice, also see if there are any female Cards attendings or fellows and ask what there is life is like. Maybe get to know them first of course. "Hi you don't know me but what is your life like" might come off as a little strange without context.
  5. dre

    dre Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    1. Find a cardiology mentor from the faculty at your school.

    I'm having the same dilemma as you in terms of IM subspecialty vs. ROADE. Just keep in mind that unless you know you want to go into academic medicine, the faculty members at your institution may not be the most informative sources in terms of describing the lifestyle of a prototypical cardiologist. Despite what we're exposed to in medical school (i.e., inpatient medical care and academic attendings) 80-90% of docs do NOT practice in a tertiary care academic setting. This means, that most non-invasive clinical cardiologists are only spending a fraction (maybe up to 1/4) of their time in the hospital - rounding on patients, etc. - and the majority of their time is spent in the office seeing patients and interpreting studies. Depending on the call, etc., you could be 1:3 - 1:4 and working 70+ hrs/week. This is in comparison to the academic cardiologists who spend only a fraction of their time seeing patients and doing studies, and a greater amount of time doing research, handling administrative duties, and teaching. Of course, their lifestyle will be better in terms of hours, working ~50 hrs/week, but then again, they're making 1/3 of most cardiologists in private practice.

    I would think that fellows (esp 2nd/3rd year fellow) would be a better source as they're looking into jobs or have secured jobs and have a better idea of what the demands are like of the positions in private practice.
  6. tigress

    tigress queen of the jungle 10+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2004
    FWIW (not much), my uncle is in interventional cardiology and he absolutely loves his job, he wouldn't do anything else, but he also never sees his kids. He is totally loaded, with a huge house and a boat he never gets to use and a new super-duper fancy luxury car every year (his favorite hobby). He's also pretty stressed out, but like I said he loves his job and his patients love him. He basically works all the time. I think he's in a hospital-based practice and he's been practicing (out of residency/fellowship) for about 6 years or so.

    I know that one individual example isn't going to help you much, but this is my experience with cardiology. I think it can be a very fulfilling specialty; although having a patient die isn't uncommon, there are also increasingly more patients you can actually help, and lots of the stuff you get to do is really neato. But to earn the big bucks and be on the top of your field you really have to have crazy work hours.

    (all of this is coming from somebody almost completely ignorant on the topic...I just thought I'd share)

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