I had the pleasure of this semi-hands-on observership with Dr. Usman Khan at the HCA Houston Health Care North West and the EPIC Heart and Vascular Institute for four weeks in December 2022 and January 2023. Being a concerned and cautious person myself, I kind of bombarded Dr. Khan with my queries before confirming my slot here, and he was kind enough to reply with patience thereby answering every question that I had when I came here, I found the whole experience to be nothing less than what was told.
Dr. Khan is an exceptional interventional cardiologist, a competent doctor, and above all a kind human being. At the hospital, we, the observers, used to follow Dr. Khan for patient rounds and view multiple procedures like cardiac catheterization, TTE, TEE, PCI, and Impella Heart Pump placement. He also used to teach us how to read the angiogram and echocardiogram. He taught us the EMR well in the hospital. He used to tell us a lot about how the healthcare system works in the US. When we come to the US to gain clinical experience after taking steps and passing professionals, the thing that we expect the most to get from any clinical experience is the opportunity to know how the US healthcare system works and Dr. Khan has taught us so well in this domain that I am sure I won’t be lagging whenever I will start my residency and work in this set-up. Dr. Khan also used to do small quizzes and other brainstorming activities during the rounds. During this rotation, I also learned the AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APHA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the management of various types of syncope: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Dr. Khan also used to give us daily assignments and we used to present them verbally to him.
In the clinic, we used to examine patients, take detailed history and examinations, come up with a management plan, present the case to Dr. Khan, and write notes in EMR. We also got to observe/shadow Melissia who is the nurse practitioner at the EPIC Heart and Vascular Institute and working with her turned out to be useful as she used to tell us a lot about insurance plans, coverage, and physician and doctor panels. It was also fruitful as I was questioned about my skills in working with the whole medical team consisting of doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff in one interview. When you will work in a health care setup, you will be working with the whole team, and working at the clinic gave me the gist of it. The medical assistants there at the clinic guide and help you to keep things running smoothly. On a regular day, I used to examine 7-8 patients and update their records in the EMR. Both Dr. Khan and Melissia were astonished at how quickly I learned everything and fitted right into the system. Dr. Khan encouraged my communication skills, ability to develop a good doctor-patient relationship, and language fluency. At the end of the rotation, Dr. Khan gives you constructive critics about yourself and asks for the ways he can improve himself as well and this speaks about the nobility of the environment you will get to work in here.
Since I came here in December and my match season was already going on, Dr. Khan was kind enough to give me some very smart interview tips that came in handy in the interview I had afterward. But, in general, he used to give us all invaluable bits of advice regarding our residency application, personal statement, etc.
In the end, I am very pleased to recommend this experience to every aspiring residency candidate out there as this was hands down the best clinical experience I have had so far. I must say that I didn’t like Houston from the point of view of excursion as I liked NYC and Chicago better from this perspective but, Houston has the best food and many halal options, and above all Houston offers the most clinical opportunities in in-patient settings. Dr. Khan himself asks you if you want to have an experience in any other specialty or shadow any other physician at HCA Health Care North West and then makes sure that you get it as well. So, don’t forget to get the best of clinical experience here with Dr. Khan, explore other clinical opportunities, eat loads of good and halal food, and visit Houston while you are here. I wish all the very best to dear readers.