Why I Would #ChooseCardiology Again: Corey Stiver, MD

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I entered my third year of medical school saying "anything but pediatrics" when people asked what I was considering for residency. I had no experience in caring for children and felt that I had no natural ability in that regard.

While I enjoyed anatomy and embryology from our first year of medical school, I did not have the interest in surgery or radiology.

I loved the complexity of cardiac physiology and the cardiac exam, so I started my third year with a strong interest in cardiology. For every rotation that I could, I preferred a cardiology flavor.

Medicine? Cardiology.

Surgical subspecialty? Cardiothoracic surgery.

ICU? Cardiac ICU. And so on.

Thankfully, as fate would have it, I was assigned to pediatric cardiothoracic surgery for my surgical subspecialty rotation.

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Every day was fascinating. How had I never heard of these complex lesions, palliations and repairs? I never minded long hours, pre-rounding in the ICU at 5 a.m. or standing on my feet for long surgeries.

The complex anatomy and physiology were stimulating to think about. I loved that I could use my passion for anatomy and embryology; that the anatomy would determine the patient's physiology and that would determine the surgical (and/or medical) plan.

When I was in the OR, I could not help but wonder about our patients on the floor or in the ICU. By the end of that rotation, it was decided – pediatric cardiology was it.

Thankfully, as I have gained experience and eventually become a mother, I have discovered a passion and maybe even a knack for caring for children and families.

I did not know it at the time, but pediatric cardiology is a wonderful field for women. Several of the pioneers in the discipline are women.

It is a demanding but fulfilling career. I work hard and there is the constant pendulum swing between work and life but having several partners – many of whom are women – allows me flexibility.

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Despite being fairly subspecialized, every one of my days is different.

I spend time reading CTs and MRIs, reading transthoracic and fetal echos, performing transesophageal echos, rounding on the inpatient service and seeing patients in clinic.

My advice to any trainee considering cardiology, specifically pediatric cardiology, would be to shadow a pediatric cardiologist – see what things are like in the echo and cath labs, on the inpatient units and in clinic. It is a diverse field and trainees are exposed to so little of it.

Pediatric cardiology is a remarkable field where you can care for patients in a variety of settings and stages: from fetus through adulthood, from the sickest child in the ICU to healthy children in clinic. There are opportunities for procedures.

Research can impact generations of children to come.

I would absolutely #ChooseCardiology again and would encourage any women in school and training to do the same.

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This article is authored by Corey Stiver, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, OH. This article 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.