I did a month-long externship under the supervision of Dr. Usman Khan, who is considered to be one of the most accomplished interventional cardiologists in the Houston area. In this rotation, I was exposed to general and interventional cardiology which sparked my interest in the field. He appointed me as the batch leader for my group. In this role, I was in charge of scheduling duties during the rotation and also served as the bridge between Dr. Khan and my fellow externs. This opportunity helped me improve my leadership skills which are extremely vital in the field of academic medicine.
During my time at Epic Heart and Vascular Center, I was amazed to see the work ethic displayed by Dr. Khan and his staff. During the clinic days, I examined and performed history intake of patients presenting with a variety of cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, myocardial infarction, varicose veins, hyperlipidemia, etc. I discuss their medication compliance along with charting in the EMR after which I presented the patient to the providers; Dr. Usman Khan and Melissa Wilkins, NP which always made us feel like a part of the team. After the patient visit, I always had a question regarding the disease and the medications which were promptly answered by the providers.
As Dr. Khan is an interventional cardiologist, a lot of emphasis was given to procedures. I got an opportunity to observe a number of procedures such as radiofrequency ablation, non-thermal Ablation, Venaseal, and peripheral angiography. It was his teaching qualities that allowed me to do post-procedural counseling of a couple of patients under his supervision which boosted my confidence. Being interested in echocardiography, I accompanied the ECHO team twice weekly for the externship to understand the fundamentals and also the implications of the results in patient prognosis.
Apart from the outpatient clinics, I also got to do inpatient rounds with Dr. Khan at HCA Houston Northwest Hospital which gave me an opportunity to explore cardiac inpatient care and I participated in discussions about their management during the hospital stay with a focus on long-term continuity care of patients with heart failure, myocardial infarction, and valvular problems, etc. The inpatient opportunity gave me a chance to discuss long-term and short-term care and how a multi-member team functions in patient care.
Dr. Khan is a proponent of evidence-based medicine. He gave me an opportunity to present a published clinical by the New England Journal of Medicine, titled, “Bempedoic Acid and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Statin Intolerant Patients” in the weekly journal club. I was also involved in teaching my fellow externs about the concept of absolute risk reduction and relative risk reduction and Dr. Khan appreciated my choice of topic and the simplified yet detailed approach towards explaining the trial’s significant findings.
In all, this experience was a chance to learn from highly experienced providers and apply that knowledge within the rotation which boosted my confidence and taught me to take initiative for the betterment of patient care.