I am delighted to express my gratitude for Dr Khan, who welcomed me as an extern at the Epic heart and vascular center and HCA northwest hospital, Houston, in July 2023. It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the field of cardiology in the US healthcare system, right after completing my home country residency in Internal Medicine. I was fortunate to learn from Dr Khan and his amazing team, who made me feel part of their team.
On the very first day, I was impressed by the number of patients waiting to see Dr Khan at his outpatient facility. I knew I was in for a rich learning experience. Dr Khan took the time to talk to me personally about my USMLE journey, perspectives, goals and expectations from the rotation.
During the rotation, I learned how important teamwork is to ensure the smooth functioning of the clinic. Every day was a new adventure, whether it was working with the front desk medical assistants, learning about outpatient procedures, operating the EMR system, seeing patients with Dr Khan and Ms Melissa, and attending teleconsultations sessions.
I learned about the current concepts in diagnosis and management of various cardiac conditions, such as angina, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. For one day I was posted in Echocardiography room where apart from learning basic chamber views and dimensions, I learned to differentiate prosthetic valve from native valve and measure ejection fraction. The session was so informative that I didn’t realise when overstayed by almost 4 hours.
During the first few days, I found it challenging to adapt to the EMR system, since I never used it any time back in my home country. However, at the end of 2 weeks Dr. Khan recognized my rapid progress in mastering the EMR system, noting that I could now efficiently complete notes after each patient encounter. He appreciated the way I used to pin point facts from patient history and examination based on my previous knowledge. Every afternoon session used to end with discussion on upcoming advances in the field of cardiology. Where, I also got an opportunity to present recent AHA guidelines on management of chronic coronary syndrome. Dr Khan was really impressed by the topic since it was released a week back and I presented it in a very elaborate way to make sure my peers understand the core concepts.
Beyond the clinical encounters, I had the opportunity to learn about various outpatient procedures for varicose veins, such as venaseal, varithena, and radiofrequency ablation. The interactive session during procedures was really something I always looked for. A standout moment during my rotation was being present for interventional cardiology procedures, which consistently fueled my aspiration to become a cardiologist. Upon sharing my interest in interventional cardiology with Dr. Khan, he graciously granted me the chance to observe right heart catheterization and coronary angiography, not only from the console but within the cath lab as well. Throughout these procedures, he meticulously guided us through each step, ensuring no detail was overlooked. His post-procedure explanations of the angiograms and pressure recordings were thorough and enlightening. Additionally, I also gained insights into the concept of fractional flow reserve.
It was an unforgettable experience that I will always cherish. Dr Khan is a great mentor and physician who not only gave me an opportunity to engage in practical learning within the US healthcare system but also refine my acquired knowledge and skills. I am confident that these improvements will come in handy for my journey as a physician in upcoming years.