Interview with a PGY-4 Cardiology Fellow

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • What was your path to cardiology?
    I was not sure what I wanted to do at all in medical school. I enjoyed internal medicine and decided to apply IM since it would allow for a lot of different options if I chose to specialize. And if I didn’t want to specialize, I knew that I liked both outpatient IM clinic and wards so would have been happy being a PCP or a hospitalist.
    I did my cardiology rotation towards the end of my intern year of medicine residency and just fell in love with it.
    What is your favorite part of cardiology?
    I am a bit of a nerd and love cardiac physiology, I think reading EKGs is fun, and I think the cath lab is the most interesting place in the world. I am actually considering moving forward with an interventional cardiology fellowship after I finish cardiology (although I detest having to apply to things, see below). The heart is just so cool and there is so much to know about it. I like the continuity you can have with patients who you see in clinic as well.
    What is your least favorite part of cardiology?
    Honestly the application process. Applying to things is stressful. The match was stressful. So, so stressful. And if you do a fellowship out of internal medicine, you have to do the whole applying process again. After I decided I wanted to do cardiology, I had this constantly present stress looming. I needed to do research. I needed letters. I needed to get to know attendings in our cardiology department. I needed to write yet another personal statement. I needed to interview again (the worst part if you ask me). It would be so much nicer if you could match into cardiology right out of med school and not have to apply again. Also in the match, sometimes you don’t get into the location you want. I didn’t get to be near my family for IM and I don’t get to be near my family now. It just didn’t work out that way, so that was tough. Applying was truly the worst part of fellowship for me, but it was worth it and I am happy in my field!
    Any advice for medical students interested in cardiology?
    You’ll be doing an IM residency first so just do well in medical school, get good foundation in medicine, and be a good internal medicine resident. It’s not necessary to start doing cardiology research from day 1 of medical school in order to match cardiology 6-7 years from then. A lot of people’s fellowship interests might change during their IM residency years, so you never know what you’ll end up wanting to do! Also, I think if you plan on fellowship, it’s important to like the field you are in even if you don’t end up doing fellowship. So for example, I would have been fine being a PCP or hospitalist if I didn’t end up doing fellowship. If I had my heart set on cardiology and just absolutely despised internal medicine and woke up every morning for 3 years dragging myself to work and hating it, it would be very tough.
    What are your plans after you finish fellowship?
     I really like interventional cardiology. As much as I don’t like applications, applying, and interviews, and as much as I just want training to be over so I can just live my life and live in a city I want to live in near my family, I can’t help myself. I really like the interventions. They are just so rewarding. Some of my cardiology friends are interested in electrophysiology fellowships and that’s pretty cool too.