Cardiology is not a required rotation at OVC, but I picked it up nonetheless because it is one of my weakest subjects. I don’t know what it is about EKGs or murmurs but I simply struggle. I remember almost panicking on our cardiology practical because I felt as though I had failed. I passed by the skin of my teeth but made sure that in the future I’d make an effort to know the material better. I figured that by taking a cardiology rotation, I would have a much better grasp of the material.
The week I spent in the cardiology department helped clarify so many areas that I found confusing. I spent hours looking over echocardiograms. While being in a dark room made me sleepy, I learned how to decipher the various shades of gray. Ultrasound is something we were taught very little about, so I felt very fortunate to have a crash course in cardiac ultrasonography. I now can say that I know how to detect normal changes in a mitral valve or the excessive dilation of the atria or ventricles.
Detecting murmurs have also been pretty hard for me. Unless they were a grade four or above, I used to have a really hard time picking them up. After spending a week listening to our patients, all of which had murmurs, I feel much more confident that I can detect lower level ones.
It would have been really easy for me to dismiss cardiology as an area that I would never master. While this would have saved me time and effort, it would not have done any justice for my future patients. I want to be the best veterinarian that I can be, so this means that I need to face all areas of medicine with an open mind and readiness to learn.