A cardiovascular technologist assists in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and vascular, or blood vessel, problems under the supervision of a doctor. A career in this field necessitates the development of interpersonal skills for appropriately interacting with people who are dying, as well as the ability to work with a variety of tools and equipment. Professional, patient, and understanding, a successful candidate works well with people of all cultures.
A cardiovascular technologist is responsible for a wide range of administrative and service-related responsibilities. He or she explains tests and procedures to patients, keeps an eye on the patient’s safety and comfort throughout the procedure, and informs the attending physician of any abnormalities or problems. Obtaining patient records and test results, maintaining cardiology equipment, monitoring heart rate and blood pressure, and recording diagnostic data using cardiology equipment are examples of additional responsibilities.
A cardiovascular technologist can specialize in one of four areas. Cardiology technologists perform invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization and pacemaker implantation. Echocardiography technologists use cardiac graphic imaging equipment, such as an ultrasound machine, to perform their work. Vascular technologists perform non-invasive vascular procedures such as assessing blood flow irregularities. Electrocardiography technologists, also known as EKG technicians, collect diagnostic data for heart conditions using an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine to record electromotive fluctuations in the heart.
Typically, there are no entry-level positions available in the field of cardiovascular technology. To earn an associate’s degree, most cardiovascular technologists must complete a two- to four-year education program. Cardiovascular technology, general and applied sciences, pharmacology, human physiology and anatomy, and medical instrumentation and electronics are all part of the core curriculum. Depending on the student’s chosen field, attention is shifted to specialty areas such as invasive cardiology, noninvasive cardiology, and noninvasive vascular studies after the core curriculum.
Before a cardiovascular technologist can start working, most states require certification. Cardiovascular Credentialing International and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers provide this certification. Although some states do not require certification, many employers base their hiring decisions on whether or not the cardiovascular technologist applicant has received certification from one of these organizations.
The field of cardiovascular technology appears to be expanding in terms of job opportunities. Despite this growth, more hospitals are cross-training nurses and other health professionals to perform the same basic tasks, so fewer EKG technicians are expected to be employed in the coming years. EKG technicians who have received additional training in continuous heart monitoring, also known as Holter monitoring, may have a better chance of finding work in the health care field than those who only perform basic EKGs.