May 15

Day in the Life: Cardiology

Hello and welcome to another Medical Mondays! Apparently it’s been ages since I’ve done a Day in the Life! I’m here to talk about….my Cardiology rotation, aka the first rotation I had when I got back from vacation!

I’ve done a Cardiology rotation before but that one got off to a rocky start because my site coordinator failed to tell them I was doing a rotation there and I got chewed out by the office manager for her mistake. I also got struck down by the plague and honestly don’t remember much of it because I was concentrating so hard on just getting through the day without passing out. Case in point, this rotation was very much welcomed/needed.

Day in the Life: Cardiology

Day in the Life: Cardiology

7 a.m. – 8 a.m.

On Wednesdays and Fridays, I’d have morning report where a fellow resident or one of our attendings would go over a usually-relevant topic to that month’s theme. (I think I’m going to be participating in helping out with this soon! :O )

I had an hour gap between morning report and going to my rotation, so I’d use that time to preview my patients for the afternoon and/or get some reading done at the office while I ate breakfast!

I got to go for a walk one afternoon through the Rutgers Gardens with one of my fellow interns! :] Hooray for spring (aside from the allergy component)!

9 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Technically speaking, my morning cardiology sessions were supposed to end at noon, but since our office is located downstairs from my cardiologist’s office, I’d usually just stick around until my first patient was scheduled to come in (aka 12:40 p.m.).

I’ve actually been in contact with this cardiologist before throughout the year while working in the hospital and have been texting him periodically throughout the year. He’s super nice, brilliant, and his practice gets things done quickly, so I really enjoyed working with and learning from him. I was actually kinda disappointed that I missed 2 days of this rotation due to vacation days (but oh, those days off were really nice too).

We also got to go to Rutgers Day! :] Obviously, I had to go hang out with the livestock. <3

I’d see patients with him for all sorts of different conditions (e.g. atrial fibrillation, syncope, supraventricular tachycardia, follow-up for abnormal stress tests/echos, cardiac clearances for surgery, follow-up for myocardial infarctions, etc.) and he’d walk me through how to read and interpret EKGs quickly, what to look for in order to medically clear a patient for surgery, indications for ordering a stress test (+ what kind of stress test to order) or echo, or pretty much anything that came to his mind that would be useful for me as a family med physician! :]

12:40 – 5-ish p.m. 

I’d run downstairs to my office to see my own patients! I’ve been building my patient panel of sorts since July-ish! Everyone has “breath of fresh air” patient visits, and for me, these are often the ones where they’re patients I’ve been following since I got here. :] There are tons and tons of people who come through our office, so I tend to hand out my business card to any patient that I really enjoyed talking with/taking care of and/or feel that we made some sort of headway/good progress with.

These days, I fall behind mostly because my patients don’t show up on time–I’ve had people show up 40 minutes late but I’ll still end up seeing them because I want to make sure things are okay with them. I can usually get through my visits in a timely manner since I can type super fast while I talk, but I still lack the ability to politely interrupt my patients when they go off on tangents.

With the billing system, physicals are meant for just that–an overall checkup to make sure things are going well and to make sure the patient is up to date on their immunizations and all preventative health issues (e.g. blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol), etc. It is entirely different from an acute/sick visit where you address a specific concern. We’re not supposed to do both in a single visit, but I’ve kinda been doing that too, which again affects the time thing. ._. That being said, we had a resident meeting the other day and my program director asked me to share my tips for getting my notes done super quickly with everyone so at least there’s that! ;P

day in the life: cardiology

A lot of my cardiologist’s patients counted their steps as a way to measure the amount of exercise they were getting! …you can clearly ese which days I walked/didn’t walk to work here. 😛

  • Do you track your steps? I used to have a fitbit but lost the battery–my phone tracks my steps for me though, so I guess that works out!
  • Does your doctor let you address 138287439 problems at your visits? I’d love to be able to do that, but with my super complicated patients, it’s just not possible. :/
  • Check out previous Day in the Life’s!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/ditl-cardiology/



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  1. Mary Beth Elderton

    I have been thinking of getting a step tracker. When I taught preK/K in a Montessori school, I was too busy walking, stooping, getting up and down from the floor, etc, to counting steps lol. Now that I am at home, I am concerned that I don’t do enough moving.
    About patients who try to discuss “138287439 problems”–my son (finishing a residency in radiology now) tells me that I am a “high information” patient. Ha.

    1. Farrah

      It can definitely make you more conscious of how much movement/activity you’re getting! I have a friend who got one and if she notices that her step count is low for the day, it encourages her to get up and walk around some more to offbalance that. :]

      haha, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to know about your health–it’s just really difficult to address everything appropriately and provide adequate counseling/information on a plethora of conditions in just a 15-minute span!
      Farrah recently posted…Day in the Life: CardiologyMy Profile

  2. Tiffany @ The Chi-Athelte

    I love your breaks, dannnnng!:) Sorry you got started off kinda rocky; I’m sure that doesn’t help the process seem any smoother.

    I don’t keep track of my steps on purpose — the Apple watch does it for me, but it’s nice to look back and see 20K steps and know that my students must have had a pretty good class with me.

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Tiffany! 😛 I love em’ too! 😛 My first cardiology rotation was when I was a med student and started off kinda rough (not my or my preceptor’s fault, haha–just the office manager!), but this one in residency was awesome! :]! Everyone was super nice!

      Agreed! I don’t track it on purpose but it’s a nice incidental finding after a hike to see how many miles I covered! 😛

  3. A.K.

    Are my steps counted? Nope, not unless someone has been keeping tabs on every move made throughout the entire day & even then such would get confusing given a propensity to shoot hoops at our local park when weather permits. As for exercise such gets determined based on how sore I am during the following day, lol

    Nah, in all honesty such has become quite a regular routine, regardless of if it is weight lifting, push ups, or basketball as mentioned above. As for the second question there have only been two or three physicians who refused to answer more then one question when dealing with patients(mainly ER docs and those doing walk in hours either on campus or another clinic)however usually my GP has become used to such after being a patient of his practice for 13 years.Such is just another skill which merely takes time to develop, much akin to time management, reading a person’s body language or acting quickly & responding appropriately during medical emergencies.

    I’ve got to ask this out of personal medical interest and curiosity, what causes afib?Is it true there may be a connection with hypoglycemia, or other pre-existing conditions? Any links to recommended reading material related to this topic would be greatly appreciated


    1. Farrah

      haha, how sore I get definitely does have an effect of how much exercise I get on the following day(s).

      I think it definitely helps a lot if you’re a known patient to the practice, but if it’s a new patient coming in for the first time who wants to address every issue/condition they have along with a full physical and several consults + refills of all their medications including a few controlled substances, it does get challenging no matter how experienced someone is. I like to think I’ll get better at this with time, but definitely find myself wishing for more than 15-20 minutes per visit right now.

      There are a lot of factors (e.g. hyperthyroidism, post-cardiac surgery, family history, autonomic dysfunction) that can trigger/lead to a higher risk of atrial fibrillation but honestly not entirely sure what exactly causes it (prevalence does tend to increase a lot with age). It’s associated with a lot of chronic preventable conditions (e.g. obesity, diabetes, HTN) too, but I haven’t heard anything about a link between afib + hypoglycemia.
      Farrah recently posted…Day in the Life: CardiologyMy Profile

  4. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Those well visits are really a challenge! Since I work in peds, we are heading into school physical season, and sadly, parents wait until that visit to get everything addressed–a year’s worth of problems. It’s really tedious, and sometimes I do tell parents they have to schedule a separate appointment, especially if it’s asthma or ADHD or something really complicated. As you can imagine, that doesn’t go over well. When a mom says to her kid, “tell her everything, it’s “your” time”, I joke that 20 minutes isn’t very much!

    Anyways, glad to hear you’re enjoying cards. I think I would like that as well. It’s pretty cut and dried!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Coming Down from that Post-Race HighMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      They areeeee. I feel your pain, haha. 20 minutes really isn’t much time, especially if there are poor historians and/or language barriers involved! :[ And if they’re late. (I had all of the above today back-to-back so it was a disaster, ahaha. I’d love to be able to address everything, but…I’m also not a magical human being. :[

      It was awesome to get to work with someone so brilliant and nice! :D!
      Farrah recently posted…Falling Spring FallsMy Profile

  5. Winding Spiral Case

    Oh gosh I also need to work on interrupting patients. I’m awful at being assertive. On Friday I got stuck hearing about/looking at photos of every dog our one sweet patient had ever crossed paths with…not the best use of 20 minutes.
    Winding Spiral Case recently posted…South Korea – Day 2 – JinhaeMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I am absolutely horrible at being assertive so I’m right there with you! I really like getting to talk with my patients + getting to know them (and <3 dogs! hehehe), but when you're pressed for time, that makes it reallyyyy hard. I don't like rushing people either! :/
      Farrah recently posted…Falling Spring FallsMy Profile

  6. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    I always enjoy the look behind the medical scenes! I try to be respectful of my doctors time and if I do have several concerns… at least write them down so we can get through them quickly!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Kettlebell Full Body WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I can’t speak for everyone but that is definitely alwayyyys appreciated! The “oh by the way’s” at the end of the appointments tend to be the issues that set me wayyy behind. ;_;
      Farrah recently posted…Falling Spring FallsMy Profile

  7. ShootingStarsMag

    Thanks for sharing. I’m glad this rotation went a lot better than the last. I have a fitbit but man, you’re SO beating me on steps. haha Oh well, I’m doing my best most days!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Unearthly Things by Michelle GagnonMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m super glad as well! The last one was an absolute nightmare, but I’m so very glad to be done with it! :D!

      That’s good! <3 I only got the 20k ones on the days where I went hiking whilst on vacation! :O
      Farrah recently posted…Falling Spring FallsMy Profile

  8. Coco

    So interesting! I find it so hard to take time off for a Dr’s appt that I would like to bring “everything” up, but I usually forget anyway. It’s also hard to know what is/isn’t relevant although I’m there are clear lines you could draw!
    Coco recently posted…Yay For RainMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      See, that’s completely understandable, but the way office visits are structured just makes it really hard to be able to address everything (at least for super complicated patients)–15 minutes just isn’t enough. :[

      It helps a lot when the problem listed is the actual issue that the patient is having, or if our patients bring all their medications (especially if they’re having trouble remembering which ones they should/shouldn’t be taking), or if they have a list of all the questions they wanted answered! In the meantime, I need to work on “setting an agenda” for each visit!
      Farrah recently posted…Falling Spring FallsMy Profile

  9. Mary

    I really love Medical Mondays. It’s so intriguing and interesting to learn about what you are up to Farrah! Rutgers Gardens is really beautiful.Wow you were really running around on the 6th!

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks, Mary! I’m glad you like this series! 😀

      There was definitely a ton of walking involved on the 6th! 😛

  10. Sarah

    My phone/apple watch counts my steps, I find it really interesting to see how much I walked. During a normal work day I’ll walk 5k, when I have night shifts 10k. It’s really crazy how much you run around at work!

    I’m also really bad at interrupting patient because I always feel rude, but I feel like I’m getting better at it (being the only doctor in the ER will do that to you).

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! I’m always amazed at how much I end up walking when I’m working in the hospital!

      I’m still working diligently on that, haha. It’s so hard to do! :[ But you’re definitely right–in the ER, you kinda have to!

  11. Kristy from Southern In Law

    I love love love these posts!

    I kind of wish my doctor would let me address more than one problem (as often things are linked!), but I’m lucky if she can address one!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Healthy Ham and Potato Soup (Gluten Free & Grain Free!)My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, I’m glad you do! <3!

      I'm definitely with you on that! There are a lot of conditions/issues that are linked, but I'm referring more to the acute visits where someone's coming in for a cold but also wants to have all their meds refilled and their labs done, their chronic back pain addressed, and referrals to all their specialists in 15 minutes. :[ I wish I could, but definitely not that skilled yet!

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