There is huge demand for technicians specializing in cardiovascular devices who assist doctors in diagnostic and prognostic methods. Staying healthy and in the pink of heath is something that all of us want. There is no sane person residing on this planet who will want to get ill (expect for the time when you have an exam or presentation to make in office of course). From a very long time, almost parallel to the events in human development, the field of medicine and cure developed. From the earliest witch doctors that specialized in treating human diseases with paranormal techniques to the medieval times that saw the advent of Ayurveda to today's super specialized doctors the journey is a long uphill journey.
It is rather funny to note that the more things developed on the medicinal front so did the range and effect of pathogens and other diseases on our lives. It was as if the bacteria kept on challenging the defense plot created to fight it. Rendering to the kind of life style we have today, there are a number of heart and cardiovascular diseases, which are very common. Around 60% of the death in India and the rest of the world occur due to heart disease.
Meaning of the term 'Cardiovascular Technician'
It is a new area of work and has seen a lot of development in the recent years. Categorically speaking, a cardiovascular technician or technologist is a person dealing with methods and devices that help to diagnose heart diseases. They help a doctor in doing his or her work and work mainly in labs with individual practitioners or in hospitals. It would not be wrong to say that a cardiovascular surgeon or specialist is partially handicapped without the technicians. In a nutshell, all the work right from setting appointments to analyzing the reports in the initial levels is under seen by a cardiovascular technician.
Educational qualifications required for the Job
It is very clear form the general description of the work that it is a very skillful job and requires a good amount of education and training to be a certified cardiovascular technician. In most of the cases, especially in India but also in most other countries of the world, there are two years or four years courses at the college level. After passing the high school examination with biological sciences as one of the compulsory subjects, the aspiring candidates can take up the entrance exams in the institutes. The two-year course is generally good for people who already have a prior degree in any other allied streams like nursing, optometry etc. due to the huge completion in this area it is advisable to do the four-years course to secure a stable and high paying career. The course in both these programs includes both general topics in the first year and specialization studies like invasive, non-invasive techniques or EKG. After completion of the courses, internship training under any senior technician or in any lab is a must. These generally last for eight to sixteen weeks and can be paid or unpaid internships. These are very essential for the perspective of getting jobs in bigger firms and also for improving personal skills in the field. Before you can start a career either as an individual or with some firm, it is essential to get a proper certification and licensure. Some places may require an exam while others not. You can get a detailed description of the process from the local health care administrative body or the place you choose to work.
Other personal skills required to be a good Cardiovascular Technician
Apart from the theoretical knowledge about the human cardiovascular system and the effect of agents and pathogens on it, there are several other attributes that play an important role in building a good career in this area. The practical implication of the theories is what makes the work vocational and tasking at the same time. One of the major roles of a technician is to handle the equipment used for the purpose of diagnosis. To have a good aptitude in such machines and a natural instinct to learn and learn it fast gives an upper to the people. The work deals with heart patients and even with so much of development in the area, people are still very irresolute about such treatment methodologies. Thus, it becomes very important to have good convincing skills and communicating abilities. Not only does it help to calm the patients but also helps in the diagnostic process by knowing the case history better. The working hours, although not very irregular in most cases, is very tedious. Patience and concentration are two very important qualities, which a cardiovascular technician has to have.
Top schools providing courses in cardiovascular technology in India
As already mentioned, there are two kinds of courses in the field. The two years degree course is a more widely prevalent one and there are several government and private universities and autonomous schools in the country. Some of the most popular and accredited ones are listed below.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Birla Institute of Technology and Science (Pilani)
Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
Apollo Institute of Hospital Management & Allied Sciences, Chennai
Christian Medical College, Vellore
Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Bangalore
School of Medical Education, Mahatma Gandhi University, Gandhinagar
Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore are some of the best in the nation. Most of these also have the four years courses and a masters' degree. Most of these universities have entrance exams and select candidates on the basis of merit. One can apply to these institutes after completing the higher secondary exams or even while perusing some other courses or job. This is possible due to the distance education programs that some of the above-mentioned schools provide.
Specialization branches in cardiovascular technology
As in all other areas of work, in this area too there are several sub-disciplines where a person can specialize in. Although one can take up a particular area of specialization in the masters' degree, in a general way, the bachelors' courses both the two and the four years one have separate specializations in the second year. There are basically four areas that a technician can specialize in. A brief description of each with relevant details in as under:
Invasive cardiac technology: As the name suggests, the area deals with invasive processes like catheter insertion, placing pace makers or stents in the heart and blood vessels. A typical work schedule of a cardiac technologist specializing in this area starts with setting appointments with the clients. It is also their duty to set the devices and making the patient ready for the process of catheterization.
Non-invasive cardiac technology: technologists specializing in echocardiography are used to performing such non-invasive tests. These tests are given such name because it requires the intersection of probes or other instruments to put into the patient's body. After which high frequency sound waves are transmitted through the patient's body. The technologists view the ultrasound image on the screen and then it is pictured for later diagnosis.
Vascular technology: Vascular technologists are those who assist physicians to diagnosis disorders affecting the circulation of blood. This technology involves the evaluation of pulses and assessment of blood flow, Blood Pressure; oxygen saturation etc. after these evaluations, the vascular technologists then prepares a summary of findings to aid in patient diagnosis and management.
Echocardiography: Ecocardiographer or cardiac sonographers as better know them are those technicians who use ultrasound to examine the chambers of the heart. The ultrasound helps to create images on a screen, which are known as electro cardiograms. By this process, an ecocardiographer can examine the heart beat rate. These technicians can also work as assistant physicians to perform other procedures.
Duties of a cardiovascular technician
Cardiovascular technicians are very much in demand nowadays and so day by day, the duties of a technician are increasing. The main duty after beginning the job in this field is of assisting physicians with diagnosing cardiology conditions. By assisting them in the first phase of your career makes, you steady for the rest of your work and give you a prior conception of the nature of work in this field. The second duty is of monitoring cardiovascular equipment during several procedures. This will help you give a rough idea of the kind of patients that you will get in near future and will surely add to your expertise. The setting up and transferring of heavy equipment is the next duty of a cardiovascular technician. The evaluation of pulses and the assessment of blood flow in arteries and veins are the main duties of this field. Without the knowledge of these things, it is impossible to work out in this field. The last duty and the most important duty of a cardiovascular technician is the duty of reporting the correct findings to the supervising physician. Without this neither your supervising physician can stand well nor you.
Working conditions and environment
The main work of a cardiovascular technician is very challenging; it involves walking and standing the whole day. As earlier mentioned, lifting of heavy equipment can also be involved. The working environment is very stressful whenever there is close contact with some patients who have serious heart ailments and also with those who maybe counting the last few moments of his/her life. Such technicians have a general work schedule. They generally have a 5 to 6day working duty. Alternatively, we can say an approximate 40hr working duty. They can even be called any time of the night to assist the physicians in surgeries. There is a very high amount of risk involved in this kind of work because there is an involvement of life and death here too.
Advancements and job prospects in the field
When a person is working in this field then the technician may also have a chance of advancing to the technologist level of practice. With having just a bit of experience as an assistant physician and a high level degree in any college then you can structure the occupation level with various more additional courses. A bit of core study, relating to this job field can also lead you to supervisory or advance management positions. As far as the job prospectus is concerned, cardiovascular technicians have around 49,500 jobs in India. An approximate value of 77% of hospital or personal cardiology departments are in need of a serious and specialized cardiovascular technician.
Salary and other remunerations for a cardiovascular technician
For a cardiovascular technician, money is no more a serious factor. The beginning of this job can be started with a salary of about $33,000, which ends at more than $80,000 and not only this, there are several other added perks and remunerations that a cardiovascular technician gets. The job is very stable and prospects of promotions are very common.