Rotation: Cardiology (Internal Medicine Subspecialty)

This is the first post of many this year that I’m using to evaluate the different third year core rotations every student gets to experience. I’m using the AAMC Careers in Medicine clinical rotation evaluation form to track what I thought about each rotation and elective during 3rd year as I figure out what specialty I’ll be applying to a year from now (!!!). Even though I am fairly certain I want to be a pediatrician, I still want to give each rotation a fair shot and experience as much of medicine as a whole as I can before I officially choose.

Name/Location of Clinical Rotation

Internal Medicine subspecialty: Cardiology (2 weeks) at the VA

What did I like most about this specialty?

I didn’t really know what to make of this specialty at first, since it was at the VA hospital (I’d never been there before) and it was my very first experience as a third year medical student. I was pretty bummed at the beginning because there was no possibility of seeing any kids on this rotation, but I was pleasantly surprised how well I fell into the team and taking care of this particular patient population. I really enjoyed working with this patients and seeing the pathologies in the realm of cardiology.

What did I like least about this specialty?

Honestly? No kiddos… Other than that? Not much, really. I liked listening for murmurs, checking out echo results, and observing catheterizations in the cath lab.

Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like?

I think so. We got a good mix of emergency cases and inpatient cases to keep me busy and on my toes. I found that I really liked working in the hospital enviornment, even though I didn’t get to see what outpatient, private practice cardiology looked like.

Did my interests, values, kills and personality fit with this specialty? If yes, how did they fit? If not, why might they not be compatible?

I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my patients and their families. Since we were at the VA, many of the patients would share their stories with me, which I loved. I really value that time getting to know my patients on a deeper level.

What are the possible practice settings exist for this specialty? Do any of them interest me and do I know enough about them?

I really like working in a hospital setting, so I don’t feel like being in private practice would have interested me as much, given what all I saw on the hospital floor.

What info do I still need?

Since this was my first two weeks of third year, I still think I need a lot more time exploring Internal Medicine as a whole before choosing it and then pursuing a fellowship… if I thought that was something I’d like to do in the future.

Has my perception of this specialty changed? If yes, how?

Yes–I didn’t think that I would enjoy it as much as I did, so I was really glad that I got put here for my first rotation.

Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing this specialty?

I definitely view this specialty/subspecialty more favorably now that I’ve gotten to see how things are done first hand. It also gave me a sense of how the physicians spent their time on the job and at home.

Right now, how interested am I in this specialty?

On a scale of 1-10, probably a 6. But I feel like I’m maybe downplaying how much I like it since I haven’t seen anything else to compare it to yet.

What information do I still need to evaluate this specialty? Any other comments or reflections?

Things I did not realize or other fun things we got to do: One day my classmates and I missed some of our weekly lectures because that morning we had someone come into the emergency department in the middle of having a massive myocardial infarction (heart attack) and we got to see him from admission to the cath lab and saw the placing of the stents to open up his coronary arteries. It was pretty amazing and exciting (and bonus–he lived!).

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