Cardiologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotCardiologists diagnose and treat diseases of the heart. They use medical instruments to examine patients for symptoms of heart disorders.

They study images and recordings of the heart to help make a diagnosis. They prescribe medications as well as dietary and activity programs.

Sometimes they must refer patients to cardiologists with specialties in surgery or a particular heart disease. Some cardiologists conduct research on the heart and its diseases, rather than work with patients on a day-to-day basis.

dotCardiologists spend a lot of time in school. Still, they need more social skills than the average bookworm.

"People skills -- being able to deal with families -- are very important," says Dr. George Moran. He is chief of cardiology at a hospital in Baltimore.

"We spend most of our lives dealing with people. There is more to medicine than being able to recite science. Human contact takes preparation. So you need a well-rounded education and some insight into human behavior and family structure."

dotPhysicians work long, irregular hours. Doctors who are on call may make emergency room visits. They also must travel between their office and the hospital to care for patients.

Cardiologist Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai puts in 60 to 70 hours a week with patients. That's on top of another 30 or so devoted to administrative, managerial and educational matters.

At a Glance

Diagnose and treat diseases of the heart

  • People skills are important
  • Expect to work long hours
  • You'll have to spend a lot of time in school