Cardiac Physiologist

What do you do for a living?
I am a Highly Specialist Cardiac Physiologist in Research.
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I wanted to work within the NHS and had the opportunity to spend some time working within the Cardiac Department of a large teaching hospital. The role of Cardiac Physiologist appealed to me and in particular, Echocardiography. This involves scanning hearts using ultrasound, to visualise the muscle, valves and blood flow through the chambers of the heart.
What was your journey to reach the role you are in today? 
The essential subjects at school would be Mathematics (s) or Physics (s)
The recommended subjects tow of Biology (or Human Biology or Biotechnology), Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics at a minimum or Higher Grade.
College / University would be part time over 4 years with a final BSc in Clinical Physiology.
Once qualified as a Cardiac Physiologist, you would normally decide which area you want to specialise in, usually Pacing or Echocardiography, and then study towards qualification in that particular area.
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
Working within Research can be a varied job depending on the nature of studies we are involved in. An echocardiogram involves using a small probe which is placed over the patients chest to produce images of the heart. We can then assess the function of the heart muscle, valves and blood flow. An example of a day in research echocardiography could include the following:
Morning, scan 3 patients involved in a study looking at aortic valve disease and it's progression, analyse the data and produce a report which will be used for patient management.
Afternoon, work on new ultrasound techniques which, if successful, can be used clinically. Train and supervise medical staff who wish to develop skills in echocardiography.
I am very fortunate to have a job I love and look forward to the challenges I face most days.
Was it your planned career when you were 18?
I originally wanted to work within interior design which eventually became more of a hobby than a career choice. Having an interest in art I worked as a Draughtwoman for many years before finally deciding on Cardiology.
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
My parents were happy for me to choose any career as long as I enjoyed my work. They fully supported me especially in my final decision.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
I would advise a visit to a teaching hospital to give an insite to what is involved within Cardiology which has such a varied,interesting and sometimes a challenging variety of things to do.
What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Cardiac Physiology is quite varied and can involve Exercise Tolarance Testing, Holter monitoring and Pacemaker assessment as well as Echocardiography.