Cardiology: Finding Purpose During a Global Pandemic

Mario Alvarez Nava, MS

When the global COVID-19 pandemic began, the life of every person in the world changed. In my case, as a third-year medical student, it meant a stop in attending to the hospital and learning through direct contact with patients, and a stop in seeing my friends, family and teachers.

Days before the quarantine started, I was going through a difficult time. Yet, one of the things that motivated me to persevere and to work hard was attending clinical cardiology class at the General Hospital Dr. Nicolás San Juan, taught by the incredible cardiology specialist, Olga Bastida, MD.

When the quarantine started nobody was fully ready for the arrival of COVID-19. There were days when fear, pain and feelings of uncertainty overflowed my mind. Nothing seemed to have a point, until a notification on my phone stopped the process of overthinking. It was the resumption of classes in a virtual setting. The perseverance and dedication of our cardiology professor, Dr. Bastida, in sharing her knowledge was enormous. Dr. Bastida had unknowingly gifted me with a reason to wake up each day and move forward.

I became more prepared for each class than ever before. The change was such that I went from waking up late, many times crying and feeling that my future had no direction – to understanding how to properly read an electrocardiogram, how to detect a heart attack even when it had an atypical presentation, and even how to identify alterations in the echocardiogram at first glance. This experience taught me that even when the outlook is gloomy and there seems to be no escape, there is always something that can illuminates us. In my case, it was and still is cardiology.

Surprisingly, what I recalled happened more than a year ago. Now I am about to start my fifth year of medical school. My life has changed, and I have too – luckily for the better.

To whoever is reading this, I want to say that the only constant is change, striving amidst adversity brings pride, and everything will be better. Trust yourself, search for opportunities, and exploit your potential. Find what you love and make it grow, get involved, support others, and take care of your health. I wish you the life you deserve.

The ACC is working to provide resources to help members take care of their own mental and physical well-being while on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the COVID-19: Resources For Clinician Well-Being page for resources specific to these unprecedented times. Need help? Counseling resources are available.


Mario Alvarez Nava, MS

This article was authored by Mario Alvarez Nava, MS, Class of 2022, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México.

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