It is with great honor and profound gratitude that I reflect upon the remarkable opportunity bestowed upon me by the esteemed Dr. Muhammad Usman Khan, a renowned Intervention cardiologist in Houston, along with his exceptional team at Epic Heart and Vascular Center, during my transformative 4-week clinical externship. This invaluable experience has left an indelible mark on my medical journey, instilling within me a deep sense of appreciation for the immense knowledge and expertise shared by this esteemed group of professionals.
As this was my inaugural experience on american soil, I found myself immersed in a realm of patient interactions and acquainted with the intricacies of the electronic medical record (EMR) system. The novelty of this endeavor initially instilled within me a sense of trepidation, as the landscape was uncharted and unfamiliar. However, under the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Khan and his exceptional team, all my anxieties and uncertainties dissipated, giving way to a transformative process that honed my professional acumen. With their steadfast support and well-crafted platform, I soon gained the confidence to engage with patients in a truly professional manner, seamlessly navigating the complexities of the EMR system. My adeptness in history taking, meticulous note-making, and formulating comprehensive assessment plans flourished under the guidance of Dr. Khan. This invaluable experience has left an indelible mark, fortifying my skills and propelling me towards excellence in the realm of healthcare provision.
Right from the start, I was warmly embraced as a part of the Epic Heart and Vascular family, entering an environment that encouraged growth, mentorship, and constant support. The unwavering dedication and professionalism displayed by Dr. Khan, the nurse practitioners, and the entire staff fostered an exceptional atmosphere for both learning and professional advancement.
During my time at the center and HCA Northwest Hospital, I was granted the privilege of immersing myself in the inner workings of a distinguished cardiovascular care facility. The diverse array of clinical experiences presented before me was unparalleled, affording me the unique opportunity to observe interventional cardiology procedures, participate in consultations, and join patient rounds.
In the outpatient setting, my typical day involved seeing patients one after another and using the electronic medical record (EMR) system. This immersive experience laid bare my weaknesses and, concurrently, fortuitously honed my strengths. The privilege of independently attending to patients in the clinic proved transformative, as it unfailingly nurtured the growth of my proficiency in history-taking, physical examinations, and the art of communication. My encounters with the diverse patient population spanned a wide spectrum, ranging from those grappling with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, sarcoidosis, and diabetes, to those grappling with chest pain, shortness of breath, and lower extremity pain. Moreover, I undertook the noble task of educating patients on the intricacies of their prescribed medications, elucidating the mechanisms of actions in uncomplicated terms, thereby fostering the awareness of the importance of adherence to their treatment plans.
I had the privilege of accompanying Dr. Khan to the Cath lab, where I was introduced to enlightening procedures like Coronary Angiography and stenting. Dr. Khan actively engaged his students during the procedures, encouraging questions and fostering a deeper understanding. Fortunately, I possessed a foundational knowledge of these procedures, allowing me to confidently answer Dr. Khan’s inquiries regarding the anatomy of the heart. My responses were met with appreciation and commendation, further fueling my passion for expanding my medical knowledge.
Aligned with an unwavering commitment to the pursuit of research excellence, I had the esteemed privilege of delivering a study entitled “Obstructive Sleep Apnea–Induced Neurogenic Nocturnal Hypertension. A Potential Role of Renal Denervation?” Presenting this study proved to be an enriching experience, as I shared my insights with my fellow externs, enlightening them on the fundamentals of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the potential significance of renal denervation therapy. Engaging in a thought-provoking question and answer session following the presentation, I navigated each inquiry posed by Dr. Khan with precision and clarity, effectively dispelling any misconceptions among my peers. The appreciation received at the conclusion of this exchange further reinforced my dedication to continuous learning and fueled my growth as an effective communicator and educator.
Undoubtedly, one of the most remarkable highlights of Dr. Khan’s rotation lay in his extraordinary teaching sessions on EKG interpretation. Dr. Khan’s profound mastery of ECGs and his fervent dedication to imparting knowledge to his externs transformed the task of reading EKGs into a seamless endeavor. Through numerous interactive sessions, we were not only empowered with a profound understanding of EKGs but also equipped with the ability to interpret them with remarkable efficiency, accomplishing the task in a mere 30 seconds.
In Dr. Khan’s astute pursuit of increased productivity and seamless workflow, he entrusts the role of batch coordinator to one individual per group. In a demonstration of utmost faith, I was appointed as the batch leader for my group, thus shouldering the responsibility of organizing duties during the rotation and serving as the vital conduit between Dr. Khan and my fellow externs. This unique opportunity served as a crucible for refining my leadership skills, which hold paramount importance in the realm of academic medicine. As the coordinator, I assumed the pivotal task of selecting which externs from my batch would accompany Dr. Khan to hospital rounds or cath labs. In a testament to my altruistic nature, I prioritized giving my fellow externs the opportunity to accompany Dr. Khan first, stepping aside to join him only after each of my peers had their turn. In this way, I sought to be of assistance and offer equal chances to others—an embodiment of my steadfast dedication to collaborative growth and mutual support.
In addition to his exceptional mentorship, Dr. Khan goes above and beyond by providing his externs with conveniently located, well-appointed accommodations near the hospital. These living quarters exude cleanliness and comfort, offering all the essential utilities one could desire. During my stay at his accommodation, I felt a warm sense of home, as Dr. Khan’s attentiveness to our needs was unwavering. Prompt in his responses and ever obliging, he ensured that we lacked for nothing during our time there. One of his distinctive attributes lies in his unwavering commitment to respecting his externs’ privacy, both within the accommodations and throughout their clinical experiences in the clinic and hospital settings. Dr. Khan’s rotation can aptly be described as a comprehensive package—a harmonious fusion of exemplary mentorship, exceptional facilities, and an environment where one feels both nurtured and at ease.
Dr. Khan has instilled in his externs a strong sense of camaraderie, expecting them to support one another. As a result, I became a sort of supervisor for his accommodations. Embracing this role with enthusiasm, I ensured that new externs received a warm welcome, offering them a guided tour and fostering a sense of belonging. On two separate occasions, I was called upon to assist with challenges in the lodgings. When one extern accidentally locked herself out of her room, Dr. Khan entrusted me with the task of resolving the issue promptly. Similarly, when a lightbulb malfunctioned in another room, I skillfully addressed the matter under Dr. Khan’s guidance. Dr. Khan’s profound commitment to helping others has inspired me to extend myself beyond the ordinary, believing that such acts of kindness and support will undoubtedly prove invaluable in shaping my future endeavors. The remark bestowed upon me at the conclusion of the rotation, wherein he referred to me as his ‘superstar,’ merely served as a testament to the profound values, exceptional teaching, and remarkable growth that I was lavishly bestowed with throughout the entirety of his rotation. This was just a reflection of his inspiration that aspired me to grow.
I wholeheartedly extend my enthusiastic endorsement of the Epic Heart and Vascular Center to fellow healthcare professionals seeking a truly transformative clinical rotation. Dr. Khan’s unwavering commitment to patient-centered care, coupled with his profound dedication to education, sets the stage for an extraordinary learning experience. This exceptional commitment to excellence permeates the entire team, rendering this institution an ideal setting for aspiring healthcare professionals to flourish. The invaluable experiences gained here, including the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research, will undoubtedly serve as a guiding light throughout my career in medicine. I am profoundly grateful for the knowledge gained, and I am eager to embark on a fulfilling and impactful path, owing much of it to the enlightening and transformative environment provided by the Epic Heart and Vascular Center.