Cardiologist Job Description
A cardiologist diagnoses and treats patients with heart and cardiovascular problems. This involves consulting with patients about their symptoms, performing tests and surgical interventions, and prescribing treatment for ongoing conditions. Most cardiologists work full time with long, irregular hours. This role usually takes place in a hospital, although some cardiologists may have to travel between hospitals or health centers to care for patients or perform surgical procedures. This role is well-suited to people who are compassionate, have strong communication skills, and work well as part of a team.
Cardiologist Duties and Responsibilities
The organization a cardiologist works for will determine the exact roles and responsibilities they take on. Based on job listings we analyzed, a cardiologist’s duties typically involve:
Discuss Symptoms and Treatments with Patients
A primary role for cardiologists is consulting with patients to understand more about their symptoms and health concerns so that they can prescribe treatment and arrange tests or surgery when required.
Document Patient Data
Cardiologists maintain in-depth notes of every appointment with a patient so that a current record of every patient’s data can be consulted when necessary. This includes any comments from appointments, treatments prescribed, and test results.
Carry Out Tests
Cardiologists carry out a variety of tests to check the performance of a patient’s heart, from pulmonary hypertension tests to cardiac biopsies. These are always carried out in sterile environments under strict privacy and health and safety guidelines that all healthcare professionals must adhere to.
Perform Surgical Procedures
If necessary for the patient’s health, cardiologists perform cardiovascular surgery. This might include fitting a pacemaker or more complex surgical interventions that require several team members and long hours.
Perform Medical Imaging Studies
Sometimes cardiologists use medical imaging equipment to detect and treat cardiovascular problems to avoid invasive procedures if possible. This involves using CT and MRI scanners to highlight any disease or health concerns that can then be treated accordingly.
Cardiologist Skills and Qualifications
Cardiologists should be compassionate and calm with patients, have strong attention to detail, and be great at problem-solving and decision-making. Typically, employers will require a bachelor’s degree and medical degree, along with several years of residency training and the following abilities:
- Attention to detail – a cardiologist’s work is incredibly detailed and requires precision, both in a surgical sense and when prescribing treatments to patients. Cardiologists need excellent attention to detail to spot and treat problems quickly
- Dexterity – mistakes can have serious, if not fatal, consequences, so cardiologists need outstanding hand-eye coordination when working with sharp tools and equipment
- Bedside manner – patients may be scared or upset when visiting a hospital, so cardiologists need compassion, patience, and a good bedside manner to put them at ease
- Organizational skills – cardiologists deal with complex information, medications, and confidential data. Keeping concise and well-organized records is vital from a medical and a business perspective
- Communication skills – cardiologists often relay complex terminology and conditions to patients with no medical knowledge, so strong communication skills and the ability to remain polite and professional is a must
Cardiologist Education and Training
Cardiologists are required to have at minimum a bachelor’s degree, a doctorate degree, and three to seven years of internship and residency training related to cardiology. No specific major is required, but students typically complete coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and English. Additionally, some students choose to volunteer in local hospitals or clinics to gain hands-on experience. Some universities offer a combined undergraduate and medical school program that lasts up to eight years. All states also require medical professionals to be licensed, but the requirements for this vary by state. In order to qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in cardiology.
Cardiologist Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for cardiologists is nearly $244,000. Cardiologists in the 10th percentile earn around $75,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $475,000 a year. Bonuses within this field can reach up to $97,000.
Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this position, followed by level of experience. Medical, dental, and vision insurance is often included as part of the benefits package. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow by 13 percent through 2026.
Below we’ve collected some of the best resources to help you begin your career as a cardiologist:
Overview of Cardiac Surgery for the Cardiologist – written by two doctors working in cardiology, this book details surgical procedures and bridges the gap between the factors that guide decision-making and evolving technologies to improve patient care
Practical Cardiovascular Medicine – this book prepares readers for success by presenting core information in an easy-to-follow format. It features an up-to-date overview of cardiology, the fundamentals of a career in this field, over 650 references for further study, and much more
AAPI Health Network – boasting more than 40,000 medical professionals, this LinkedIn group is a great way to discover the latest news and technologies as well as learn from experienced colleagues around the world
American College of Cardiology – this website is a great resource for students and newly minted doctors to learn more about the basics of cardiology and find the latest industry and clinical updates
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