When I heard my fourth-year sub-internship was going to be in Cardiology, I was extremely intimidated, as most students who had rotated through Cardiology were. Cardiology is such an intricate and complex subject that I felt I never mastered, and it didn’t help that I still felt less than subpar in my EKG reading skills. After completing 3 weeks of my sub-I, I can say that while it is a very complicated field, it is a lot less daunting once you have cared for enough patients with STEMI, NSTEMI, heart failure, arrhythmias, etc. The treatment regimen tends to stay quite consistent amongst the same presenting problems, so now I feel confident in the assessment and plan of these patients. Additionally, there has been an incredible amount of teaching on this service. Very helpful topics have been EKG practice, learning how to read an echocardiogram, reviewing the management of atrial fibrillation. Higher-level topics that have gone over my head but were also interesting included the ins and outs of sensitivity/threshold of pacemakers, reading nuclear stress tests, calculating peak gradients as part of the echocardiogram analysis. The physicians and residents on this service have been extremely encouraging and kind, which has helped in creating such a positive experience. Although I do not think I will be pursuing Cardiology in my future career, I am thankful I got this experience as I am sure I will encounter numerous cardiac issues in my practice as an internal medicine resident. I still may not be able to spot a junctional rhythm or be able to distinguish when ventricular tachycardia is pathologic or an artifact on telemetry, but at least I can identify and localize infarcts, arrhythmias, and conduction abnormalities on EKG. All of which is much more than I would’ve been able to say just three weeks ago!
In It To Win It
Alex is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As an avid lover of the intellect and interspecialty collaboration associated with medicine, she is excited to be applying for Internal Medicine residency programs. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.