Becoming a cardiovascular surgeon is a lengthy journey, even when compared with other medical professionals. Heart professionals treat patients with severe and life threatening conditions as well as treating those with congenital heart disorders which, left untreated, could prove to be fatal.
It is unsurprising then that cardiovascular surgeons undergo an extended education following on from medical school graduation. In the US, potential heart surgeons complete a five year surgery residency after eight years’ medical school and college attendance. On completion of their residency, would-be surgeons then gain specialised skills through a focused fellowship in their area of preferred expertise. Those wishing to carry out heart transplants or work in paediatric cardiology must complete two or three years’ further training in their chosen field.
It is not all theoretical study that goes into the making of a heart specialist. A medical residency is on the job training for aspiring surgeons, enabling them to learn the skills required for their profession under the careful tutorage of experienced surgeons. This practical experience is vital in providing real life learning experiences in which training surgeons can carry out real procedures in preparation for their career as a fully qualified heart professional.
This undertaking requires dedication, commitment and no small amount of hard work. These qualities are imperative to the making of a successful cardiovascular surgeon. With a deep understanding of the heart’s anatomy, as well as the blood vessels which surround it, cardiovascular surgeons apply their residency training to perform intricate, life saving surgeries.
What then for the fully qualified cardiovascular surgeon? Heart professionals are either employed in a public or private hospital, or they may choose to set up their own practice seeing patients in a consultative capacity and performing surgery. In the US, the American Board of Medical Specialists certifies all cardiovascular surgeons, while further specialisations require appointment to the American College of Cardiology.