When your general medical doctor suspects a significant heart or related condition, they will often call on a cardiologist for help. A cardiologist possesses specialized training and skills in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains, or dizzy spells may necessitate the involvement of a cardiologist. Additionally, abnormalities like heart murmurs or changes in electrocardiograms (ECG) often warrant the evaluation of these specialized medical professionals.
Cardiologists play a crucial role in helping individuals with heart disease regain a full and functional life. They provide counselling on the risks and prevention of heart disease and are actively involved in the treatment of heart attacks, heart failure, and serious heart rhythm disturbances. Their expertise is essential when decisions regarding procedures like cardiac catheterization, balloon angioplasty, or heart surgery need to be made.
A Physician Associate (PA) is a healthcare professional authorized to practice medicine as part of a team with a physician or group of physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services, including conducting physical exams, obtaining medical histories, diagnosing and treating illnesses, interpreting tests, counseling on preventive health care, assisting in procedures, and prescribing medications. In the cardiology field, PAs may be involved in hospital admissions, performing rounds, supervising stress testing, and assisting cardiologists in various procedures.
In an office setting, PAs are trained to manage both stable cardiac patients and those who are acutely ill. They play a vital role in pre-operative clearance exams for non-cardiac surgeries and conduct consultation evaluations for new cardiac patients. Cardiology PAs work collaboratively with cardiologists, forming an effective team in patient care.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses with advanced education and clinical training, providing a wide range of preventive and acute healthcare services to individuals of all ages. NPs complete graduate-level education leading to a master’s degree. Their responsibilities include taking health histories, performing physical examinations, diagnosing and treating common acute and chronic problems, interpreting laboratory results, prescribing medications, providing health education, and referring patients to other healthcare professionals when needed.
Registered nurses (RNs) play a crucial role in providing and coordinating patient care. They conduct physical exams, health histories, and educate patients and the public about various health conditions. RNs also administer medications, interpret patient information, make critical decisions, coordinate care with other healthcare professionals, and may supervise care delivered by other healthcare personnel.
Clinical pharmacists are medication experts who contribute significantly to patient care. They provide medication recommendations, collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals, and ensure the safe, appropriate, and cost-effective use of medications. Clinical pharmacists are often involved in research to generate new knowledge that enhances health and quality of life. In some states, they have prescriptive authority, working under protocols with medical providers, and their scope of practice continually evolves.