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Purpose and Mission
One of the most well-known surgical specialities is the cardiac surgeon or cardiologist. This healthcare professional helps patients decide on the best surgical options to treat diseases of the organs in the cardiopulmonary system, i.e, the heart and lungs.
Keep in mind that cardiothoracic surgeons liaise with other doctors and medical specialists to diagnose and treat serious diseases including heart failure, lung cancer, endocarditis, irregular heartbeat, and pulmonary embolisms. Some of these surgeons even undertake heart and lung transplants and perform coronary bypass surgeries.
According to government statistics, there are only a few score cardiac surgeons practicing in Australia
Most cardiac surgeons are employed in private practise, so in most cases do not have a direct supervisor. Like other physicians who work at hospitals, they are, however, supervised by a service chief or a medical committee.
Cardiac surgeons typically do have significant supervisory responsibilities, especially relating to training and evaluating residents and technical personnel. Many senior cardiac surgeons also serve on the management boards of their practices.
In order to work as a cardiac surgeon, you must earn an undergraduate degree, and then graduate from medical school. After medical school, a cardiac surgeon completes an extensive clinical residency program working with experienced doctors to become a fully qualified specialist.
Becoming board certified in cardiothoracic surgery requires applying to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for a fellowship in the speciality. Earning an RACP fellowship requires satisfactorily completing a four- to five-year general surgery residency, followed by an at least two year supervised cardiothoracic surgery residency.
Responsibilities of a Cardiac Surgeon
Among the most highly trained physicians, cardiac surgeons are trained to undertake a broad range of surgical procedures, including (but not limited to) coronary bypass surgery, mitral valve replacements and surgical repairs to a variety of congenital heart conditions. Surgeons typically work at hospitals or medical centres, but are usually independent contractors with their own private practices.
In most cases, cardiac surgeons work together with GPs, cardiologists and other healthcare professionals in assessing and treating patients. Other professional responsibilities include office check-ups and patient follow-ups after surgeries.
Cardiac surgeons also typically spend a good bit of time supervising residents and instructing medical students. Keep in mind they often have to work extended shifts and/or weekends as well as take occasional emergency on-call duty.