Career Development | Who Do I Call?

As an early career cardiologist, you often find yourself navigating through many challenges when starting your first job. These challenges are especially applicable when you move to a new state. Not only are you trying to figure out the state rules about car registrations, licensing, moving and other nonprofessional aspects of life, you also have to find out who will provide professional support and you may find yourself asking, "who do I call?"

When it comes to finding mentors, there are several options. The first option is to stay in contact with your training program mentors as they have experience, know you well and are able to guide you through new situations. However, sometimes mentors cannot guide you through local issues if you move out of state or to a new geographic region. Another option is to find mentors at your new workplace, whether it be a senior cardiologist at your organization or your new boss. A third resource – which is sometimes underutilized – is your local ACC Chapter.

The ACC has established local and state chapters that allow cardiologists to come together, network and solve issues relevant to the practice of cardiology in their state. Most state chapters have an annual meeting, which is an excellent networking opportunity to not only meet your local peers but also local academic leadership and community cardiologists. Some of the people you meet may become your referral sources and others the sub-specialists to whom you refer complex patients. Among this group of cardiologists, you will often find someone who you click with and is willing to serve as a mentor while you build your practice. It may be an academic cardiologist, senior community cardiologist or someone your age who has already been through the same things that you are going through now. They may also have better insights in the context of local referral patterns and practice dynamics.

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend the ACC Kentucky Chapter annual meeting. The day was packed with lectures from national ACC faculty and local cardiologists and poster presentations from fellows, which is always exciting (and nostalgic). However, the best part of the day was meeting other practicing cardiologists from my training program. As it turns out, one of the senior pediatric cardiologists in Kentucky is an alumnus of the same program as me, so it was a great experience to meet and connect with him.

If I were to do it all over again, I would make sure I go to every local ACC Chapter meeting. Not only is it an easy way to get CME credit and a great networking opportunity, but you also may bump into a future mentor, new referring physician or an old friend!

This article was authored by Syed S. I. Bokhari, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist at Saint Joseph Hospital in London, KY.