I never imagined that in such a short duration of 4 weeks, I would learn so much about the US healthcare system, ranging from taking patient histories to updating electronic medical records. All of this would not have been possible without the kind guidance and supervision of Dr. Usman Khan, a renowned interventional cardiologist, and more importantly, an influential and inspiring personality.
Dr. Khan did an amazing job instilling in me the confidence that made me stand out in the observerships and externships that followed. One of the biggest qualities of Dr. Khan was that he would express admiration for every step we took towards learning, no matter how small it was. It was one of the factors that made all of us, the observers, very competent and self-assured while talking to the patients and examining them.
The rotation at the Epic Heart and Vascular Center was very artistically structured and well planned. Not only were we actively involved in discussing the patients with Dr. Khan, we were scheduled to observe all the other components of the outpatient cardiology clinic. First, we were rotated with medical assistants who taught us all the minute details regarding the eClinicalWorks, EMR used at the clinic. Starting from the basics and going all the way up the ladder to the point where we could operate the EMR comfortably and confidently. Then we were also made to rotate with the diagnostic medical sonographers who briefed us on how to look for varicose veins, DVTs and other vascular pathologies in an ultrasound. Dr. Khan’s efforts in designing and planning out the whole of this rotation is quite commendable. All of the staff was very supportive and allowed us to get involved with patients to as much extent as we wanted. I remember one of the medical assistants allowed me to assemble the EKG leads on a patient and for this, Dr. Khan appreciated me for being always forthcoming and going a step beyond all other externs.
And the best part at the clinic was patient discussions, interpreting the Nuclear Stress Tests, MCTs, Echocardiograms and EKGs with Dr. Khan himself. He always motivated us to be actively involved. Consequently, in a very short duration he made us quite confident in interpreting all of these various studies. We would just gather around Dr. Khan’s desk and bombard him with questions that he always welcomed and answered in great detail. Our staying in the clinic past office hours when discussing the EKGs was not a rare occurrence.
At the Epic Heart and Vascular Center we also observed a number of outpatient vascular procedures including VenaSeal, Varithena and Radiofrequency Ablation while Dr. Khan thoroughly explained the procedure, indications and complications.
We were all motivated by Dr. Khan to stay up to date with the latest knowledge and advancements in the field of Cardiology through a Journal Club where each of the externs presented a research article. I got the opportunity to present the article on “Serum Neprilysin and Recurrent Admissions in Patients with Heart Failure”. Dr. Khan, once again owing to his uplifting personality, praised me for my brief yet informative approach while presenting the topic.
Dr. Khan had also appointed me as a representative of the batch shadowing him during the month of my rotation. I was responsible for addressing the externs’ concerns and making sure that all the externs got a fair chance to rotate at various departments in the hospital and also got to rotate at all the departments at the clinic as well. Furthermore, towards the end of the rotation I was made to brief the new incoming batch about the rules and regulations of the rotation as well as how the rotation would be structured. Dr. Khan was typically impressed by my administrative, leadership and communication skills that helped me handle these responsibilities flawlessly and consequently I became one of his most trustworthy mentees.
Overall, this 4-week rotation encompassed a vast variety of activities and experiences that not only got me set into the US Healthcare system but also set me on a journey to becoming a great physician in the future. I will be indebted to Dr. Khan for his efforts and the impact he has had on me in this short interval of time.