Working life (cardiology)

This page provides useful information on the working week as well as any on-call and other commitments, along with information on who you will work with. The attractions and challenges of the job are also in this section.

How your time is spent and on call

In a typical week, a consultant cardiologist will spend three-quarters of their time on direct clinical care involving inpatients, outpatients and laboratory work. This also includes time for team meetings, clinical administration and being on-call. Nearly 70% of consultants say they are routinely on-call at weekends.

The rest of their week is taken up doing support activities such as clinical management meetings, providing advice to colleagues in other specialties, liaising with community and primary care services, audit, service improvement, teaching and assessing junior staff, clinical research, and their own continuing professional development.

Inpatients generally arrive at the emergency department and are admitted to the cardiac care unit.

  • Cardiologists work alongside:

    • cardiac and cardiothoracic surgeons
    • cardiac physiologists
    • specialist nurses
    • medical secretaries and administrative staff

    Specialists also work closely with other hospital specialties and primary care physicians.

  • Cardiology will appeal to you if you enjoy overseeing the long-term care of patients. It will also be of interest to you if you like doing practical and minor surgical interventions.

    Like all specialties, keeping abreast of advances in clinical practice and contributing to teaching and research is expected and can be rewarding or challenging depending on your perspective.

    Cardiology is generally stereotyped as one of the most prestigious of the medical specialties which will be an attraction for some people.

    The financial rewards of becoming a consultant hardly figures on trainees’ reasons for being attracted to cardiology. Interest in the work itself – especially the sub-specialties – and having a good relationship with colleagues are key attractions of the role.

    Role strain is less than in some specialties. On-call duties can be demanding but are generally manageable.

    The professional support that cardiologists give each other is enjoyable, as is the friendly rivalry with cardiac surgeons.

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