#ChooseCardiology: Jacqueline L. Green, MD, FACC

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FEATURE | The following feature interview with Jacqueline L. Green, MD, FACC, is part of the ACC WIC Section's #ChooseCardiology series, where women in residency, fellowship and early career are encouraged to share why they would choose cardiology again. Dr. Green is a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute in Fayetteville, GA.

Why did you choose private practice cardiology?

I chose private practice cardiology because I love clinical medicine and am passionate about taking care of patients, so I wanted to be in a position where my primary responsibility would be direct patient care. I wanted my value to any organization to be measured first by the quality of care I provide my patients.

What do you like best about private practice cardiology?

Each private practice is unique. The spectrum of possible job descriptions within varying private practices is so diverse that I believe anyone can find a great fit. I currently work for Piedmont Heart Institute (PHI) in Fayetteville, GA. I am continually impressed with the resources the organization commits to improving the quality and processes of care.

The patient is first priority, and the people working at PHI are committed to making a positive difference in each patient's life. There is also an army of people working at the top of their training to facilitate patient care – so I get to focus my time on the skills I was trained and love to do, such as procedures, patient counselling and clinical decision-making.

Who has been a role model or mentor for you?

I have been incredibly fortunate when it comes to mentors. Allen L. Dollar, MD, FACC, chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, GA, immediately comes to mind as the person who inspired me to pursue cardiology. He is the quintessential well-rounded cardiologist and person. Dollar took an interest in my training and success early in my career, and showed me what an incredibly rewarding career cardiology could be.

He gracefully balances a beautiful family, clinical excellence, leadership and administrative responsibilities, all while being an overwhelmingly kind and generous individual. Dollar genuinely cares for patients and the people who he leads.

He also introduced me to Nanette K. Wenger, MD, MACC, who is simply iconic and inspirational in her success and leadership. Within interventional cardiology, I have leaned heavily on all my faculty from the University of Michigan, as well as on the ongoing consultation of my colleagues at Piedmont Heart Institute, who continue to help me grow my interventional skills and weather the emotional ups and downs of performing high stakes procedures.

Finally, my Aunt Elizabeth, a successful attorney and overwhelming supportive confident, has always been my compass in navigating the ongoing balance of life.

Why did you choose this area of cardiology?

I had no intention of being an interventional cardiologist. I specifically went to the University of Michigan with the plan of pursuing a career in health policy and outcomes research. However, I could not shake the exhilaration of being in the Cath lab.

I love the puzzle of trying to predict what is really happening to a patient and being able to answer clinical questions with certainty and efficiency, all while offering a therapy that is often immediately satisfying for the patient and the provider. I was lucky to have a few interventional faculty strongly encourage me to pursue the field.

Hearing from people who I truly admired say that I had the aptitude to be a successful interventionalist and that they wanted to train me was so helpful in giving me the confidence and will to jump into a field that is often misperceived as being intense and unwelcoming.

Would you choose it again?

Absolutely! Of course, there are good days and tough days, along with sleepless nights. But let's face it – that's life. The reward of safely carrying a patient through a stressful and often life-threatening health crisis is so deep that I cannot imagine doing anything else.

Is practicing this area of cardiology what you expected?

Yes and no. I was well prepared by my training but it is hard to anticipate what any new job will be like. There are so many variables and the only thing that is constant is change. We must be willing to change to progress and continue to offer the best care to patients.

What advice would you give women considering private practice cardiology?

Go for it. Private practice has the potential to offer an incredibly rewarding career if you want to focus on direct patient care. Every group is different, and finding the right group for your individual needs takes time and careful investigation of the job and group specifics.

This process is important irrespective of gender. If you are honest with yourself about your personal and professional needs and priorities from the outset, you may be surprised what a great fit private practice can be.