March 31st, 2014
Master of All Trades
Several Cardiology fellows who are attending ACC.14 in Washington, D.C. are blogging for CardioExchange. The fellows include Kumar Dharmarajan, Seth Martin, and Saurav Chatterjee. For more of our ACC.14 coverage of late-breaking clinical trials, interviews with the authors of the most important research, and blogs from our fellows on the most interesting presentations at the meeting, check out our ACC.14 Headquarters.
An intriguing and practical discussion with a nearly graduated fellow opened up new avenues for thought. In spite of general feelings on how mentorship may sometimes be lacking – especially in terms of quality – for those in academic cardiology, overall most fellows are fortunate enough to have at least one or more academic mentors who allow them to fine-tune their careers according to sage advice. However, those embarking on careers in private practice appear to have less available and structured guidance.
From my conversation with the aforementioned fellow, it appears as though many practices have now set the bar high in terms of clinical experience – in other words, they want applicants to have COCATS level IIs and IIIs in several (if not all) of the sub-specialties. The logical question, of course, is with other commitments to education and research, how realistic it is to expect one person to become proficient in several of these sub-specialties? In addition, there appears to be several boards for certifications like the “echo boards,” “Nuc boards” and the “Vascular boards.”
Another largely unanticipated issue is the fact that someone planning on taking one or more of these boards may incur significant additional expenses in the final year of fellowship. This may need to be budgeted for ahead of time – especially for those with families and children. In addition, the American Board of Internal Medicine has has implemented a “maintenance of MOC” program for board-certified physicians in various specialties that may potentially add to further expenses. These are surely things to ponder ahead of time.