ACC.14: To build career, listen, help and be judicious

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WASHINGTON, DC—You are an early career cardiologist, in private practice and you want to succeed. Steve A. Simpson, MD, of Fort Worth Health in Texas, offered tips on March 29 at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific session in Washington, D.C., to help young specialists excel in their new roles.

First, be positive, be available and look for opportunities to help. As an example, he shared that he assumed the unpopular task of performing echocardiograms for the busy electrophysiology lab. “My partners are happy because they didn’t have to deal with it and my electrophysiologist is happy.”

He warned early-career cardiologists that they may believe they are the hardest workers in the practice, but they are mistaken. Instead, focus on being an asset and providing quality care. “You want to become the person in the hospital where you are working who everyone thinks, ‘Thank goodness I have him or her on that case to help me out.'”

Be polite when working with referring physicians, he added. Don’t shy away from correcting errors but do it in a way that is supportive and collaborative.

Know the metrics that are used to evaluate performance and understand the practice’s targets. “You want to know how you measure up,” he advised, and if you are not meeting standards ask how you need to adjust.

To build up prominence and referrals, identify your niche in the community, interact with fellow physicians and serve on committees, he suggested. “One of the best referrals is your patients,” Simpson said. “They are very loyal.” If they seem happy with you, give them a stack of business cards.

He recommended early career cardiologists listen, do their homework and be judicious in offering suggestions. “You want to make it be a piece of the puzzle that everyone else is missing so they really value what you say.”

He offered one last piece of advice as cardiologists launch their careers: “Get home and see your family.”