A Career in Cardiology

1. Specialization tasks
2. Pathway
3. Common job scopes
4. Common terms
5. Career opportunities

Cardiology

Cardiology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the heart as well as parts of the circulatory system the field includes medical diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease and electrophysiology. Physicians who specialize in cardiac surgery are called cardiothoracic surgeons or cardiac surgeons. The supporting role of the surgeons and physicians are cardiology nurses.

Although the cardiovascular system is inextricably linked to blood, cardiology is relatively unconcerned with hematology and its diseases. Some obvious exceptions that affect the function of the heart would be blood tests, decreased oxygen carrying capacity, and coagulopathies.

Coagulopathies

source: Resus.me

Specialization Tasks

All cardiologists study the disorders of the heart and all cardiology nurses are trained to take care of either adult or children conditions. This is due to differing aspects of training for adult and paediatric physiology. Surgical aspects are not included in cardiology and are in the domain of cardiothoracic surgery.

For example, coronary artery bypass surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass are both surgical procedures performed by surgeons, and not cardiologists. As a nurse, your task will be that of assisting the cardiologists in this matter. A properly-trained cardiology nurse would have the necessary critical thinking in order to draw conclusions to make meaningful impact of treatment.

Common tasks in the wards that you might have to do include the insertion of stents, pacemakers, and valves.

Pathway

Cardiology OT

source: verywell

Cardiology is a specialty of internal medicine. To be a cardiology nurse, a three-year work experience followed by a post-basic or relevant course is required. It is possible to sub-specialize in Malaysia. Recognized sub-specialties in cardiology for Malaysia are cardiac electrophysiology, echocardiography, interventional cardiology, and nuclear cardiology.

Currently there is insufficient data for Malaysia, for salary, but it is guaranteed to be higher or on par with other similar nursing specialists.

Common job scopes

Cardiology is a vast field. Not only does it involve the heart and its systems, it also involves supporting systems such as haematology and its diseases. It is important to know and train for this when pursuing this specialization.

Cardiac electrophysiology

An example of echocardiography

An example of echocardiography

This is the science of elucidating, diagnosing, and treating the electrical activities of the heart. The term is usually used to desccribe studies of such phenomena by invasive catheter recording of spontaneous activity as well as of cardiac responses to programmed electrical stimulations. These studies are performed to assess complex arrythmias, relieve symptoms, evauate abnormal ECGs, assess risk of developing arrhythmias in the future, and to design treatment.

Cardiac examination

The cardiology nurse is able to carry out cardiac examinations of patients. It is performed as part of a physical examination, or when a patient presents with chest pain suggestive of a cardiovascular pathology. It would typically be modified depending on the indication and integrated with other examinations especially the respiratory examination. Like all medical examinations, the cardiac examination follows the standard structure of inspection, palpation, and auscultation.

Paediatric cardiology

Paediatric cardiology

source

Paediatric cardiology is a specialty of paediatrics. To be a paediatric cardiology nurse, one must complete at least three years of registered working experience and pass all the required courses. Adult cardiology certifications are not valid due to differences in physiology in children.

Common complications that you will see as a nurse practicing paediatric cardiology are paediatric hypertension, paediatric hyperlipidemia, heart palpitations and arryhthmias.

Diagnostic tests

Diagnostic tests in cardiology are the methods of identifying heart conditions associated with healthy vs. unhealthy pathology heart function. It is commonly started by obtaining a medical history, followed by auscultation. Blood tests soon precede after, and imaging can be done on a need-to-do basis.

Common terms

1. Tetralogy of Fallot

It is the most common congenital ehart disease arising in 1-3 cases per 1000 births. The cause of this defect is a ventricular septal defect and an overriding aorta. These two defects combined causes deoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and going right back into the circulatory system. The modified Blalock-Taussig is used as a treatment for this condition.

2. Pulmonary atresia

This happens in 7-8 births per 100,000 and is characterized by the aorta brancing out of the right ventricle. It causes deoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs and enter the circulatory system. Fixing it can by done by a team of cardiologists and nurses by redirecting the aorta and fixing the right ventricle-pulmonary artery connection in surgeries.

3. Double Outlet Right Ventricle

Double outlet right ventricle is when both great arteries, the pulmonary artery and the aorta, are connected to the right ventricle. There is usually a ventricle in different particular places depending on the variations of DORV, typically 50% are subaortic. A VSD closure is the most common form of treatment for this condition.

Career opportunities

Search for high-paying cardiology nursing jobs on MIMS Career. Browse, save, and apply for nursing jobs, all in one-click. Take the opportunity for higher pay and better work locations. Our pages are all mobile-responsive, allowing you to take that leap for a better job whenever, wherever you are. All our job postings are heavily screened to prevent scams and mistrustful behavior.

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  Photo cr: Unsplash  

 Mental Health 

 Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of mental illness. It is the “ psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment” . From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve  psychological resilience . 

 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes “ subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.”  Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how mental health is defined. 

 Mental health nurses play and important part in helping patients lead a positive life. It is not uncommon for physical disorders to arise from mental issues. It is a field that is growing in awareness. It is estimated that  40% of Malaysians will suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime . 

 Specialization tasks 

 Maintaining good mental health is crucial to living a long and healthy life. Mental health nurses are required to show a considerable amount of empathy towards their patients in assisting them to make a full recovery. Research has shown that there is stigma attached to mental illness. Therefore, it is extremely important that mental health nurses develop excellent observational skills in the treatment of the patient. 

 Activity therapies 

 Activity therapies, also called recreation therapy and occupational therapy, promote healing through active engagement. Making crafts can be a part of occupational therapy. It is very common for nurses to take patients on walks as part of this type of therapy. 

 Psychotherapy 

 Psychotherapy is the general term for scientific based treatment of mental health issues based on modern medicine. It includes a number of schools, such as  gestalt therapy ,  psychoanalysis ,  cognitive behavioral therapy  and  dialectical behavior therapy . 

 Legal requirements 

 Mental health nurses assist in the legal requirements for the patient. Requirements encompass the setting of the patient or a group of patients. 

 Progress monitoring 

 Mental health nurses may have roles that include visiting patients in their home to monitor their progress and carry out risk assessments. While carrying out this task, nurses assess the risks involved to the patients’ safety, health, and welfare. 

 Pathway 

 In order to specialize as a mental health nurse, you must be a registered nurse, practicing for a minimum of three years. A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing is an advantage. You must take up a psychiatry-based training course with practical hands-on experience. For those courses, you may be able to get accreditation if you have a degree in psychology, or social work. 

 Required skills 

 You will need to display: 

 
	 
	 Exceptional observational skills. You will be required to assess patients and look out for signs of tension or anxiety, which sometimes are not that obvious. 
	 
	 
	 Physical fitness, especially when working in a hospital. Increased stamina and strength is an added bonus. 
	 
	 
	 Emotionally and spiritually resilient to work in a challenging environment. 
	 
 

 Job prospects 

 While a lot of work for mental health nurses is done in the hospital, the majority is community-based in a wide variety of settings. Some of them include community mental health centers, nursing homes for the elderly, rehab units, and private clinics. 

 Working conditions 

 Salaries for mental health nurses will depend on the level of education that they possess. Those with a BSN or MSN will earn more. The type of institution and experience that you have will also factor in your earnings. 

 It is important to have a calm demeanor and able to handle stress well as you will be working with many difficult patients with psychotic episodes. It can be rather jarring to those who are not used to it. However, when approaching these situations without judgement, many mental health nurses manage to overcome these issues and help the patients with their treatment. 

 Career opportunities 

 Search for high-paying mental health nursing jobs on  MIMS Career . Browse, save, and apply for nursing jobs, all in one-click. Take the opportunity for higher pay and better work locations. Our pages are all mobile-responsive, allowing you to take that leap for a better job whenever, wherever you are. All our job postings are heavily screened to  prevent scams and mistrustful behavior . 

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 Gynaecology is the medical practice of dealing with the health of the female reproductive system and the breasts. Literally the term gynaecology means “the study of women.” The opposite of gynaecology is andrology, which deals in male-specific medical issues. 

  Almost all modern gynaecologists are obstetricians : physicians who deal in the branch of medicine and surgery of childbirth and labor. These two fields overlap in many areas, therefore in many institutions Obstetrics and Gynaecology are lumped together as O&G. 

 Gynaecology is concerned with the health of the female reproductive organs and the ability to reproduce. It also encompasses paediatric and adolescent problems to post-menopausal ages. 

 History 

 From ancient Egypt circa 1800 BC, the Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus is the oldest known medical text of any kind. It writes about women’s complaints; gynaecological diseases, fertility, pregnancy, contraception, etc. In the 4th century BC Hippocrates wrote texts about gynaecological diseases that were common afflictions to Greek women at the time. 

 J Marion Sims is widely considered to be the father of gynaecology. He operated during the 19th century at Jefferson Medical College, New York. However the title is now being scrutinized due to his unethical development of his surgical techniques. He operated a lot on slaves, many of whom were not given anaesthesia. 

 Training 

 Post-basic courses on midwifery, gynaecology, and obstetrics are considered to be part of gynaecological training. If desired, a nurse can opt to pursue a Masters in order to carry out research work in the field, and proceed to doctorate studies. 

 Training is given out to encourage the study and advancement of the practice of gynaecology. It is also done by the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision. 

 Gynaecology is a vast field. Nurses who work in this area have sub-specialties in high-risk obstetrics, fertility care, or minimal access surgery. The job most deals with healthy women, where unexpected challenges can present themselves on a daily basis. Work includes a large number of hands-on procedures, and training reflects that. 

 Common Cases 

 Patients range from those who have chronic disorders which are not life threatening, to those who require immediate acute emergency treatment. 

 Nurses in this field are often required to provide assistance during operative procedures. Some of the common procedures a gynaecological nurse with oversee include: 

 
	 dilation and curettage 
	 Oophorectomy 
	 Exploratory laparotomy 
	 Treatments for urinary incontinence 
	 Cervical excision procedures 
	 treatment of polyps 
	 surgery for cancers 
 

 A major part of a gynaecology nurse is the delivery of infants. Their work includes: 

 
	 assist delivery using instruments (forceps or vacuum) 
	 C-sections 
	 Foetal health 
 

 Career Opportunities 

 
	 Independent Nurse Consultant 
	 Educator 
	 Training programme director for gynaecology nursing 
	 
	 Research in public and private sectors 
	 
	 - 
 
   

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 For those nurses serving with  Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia  (KKM), the start of your work life will present you with one of the toughest choices you’ll make: 

 
 EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund, also known as KWSP), or choose the pension fund? 
 

 Both are viable options in securing your financial health after you retire. Although retirement might seem like ages away, a good amount of planning and successful investments can mean the difference between being able to live comfortably in your golden years, or struggle with daily or medical expenses. 

 So which to choose? We’ll break down the points below. 

 Pension fund 

  What is it?  
It’s a monthly stipend of a set amount, provided by the Public Services Department upon your retirement. In addition to that, you also receive a  gratuity  payment, and medical/health benefits. 

  Calculation  
Here we will be assuming that you start work at 20 years old, with a starting salary of RM2,000, and continue working until you retire at 55 with a salary of RM5,600 (3% annual pay increase). 

 Your monthly pension will be your last drawn salary, divided by two. For example, if your base salary is RM5,000 when you retire, your monthly stipend will be RM2,800/mo. 

 In addition to that, you will receive gratuity payment, which is calculated as such: 

 
 gratuity = 7.5% x 35yrs x 12 months x RM5,600 (final drawn salary) 
= RM 176,400. 
 

 RM176,400 will be given as a lump sum, while RM2,800 will be given per month. Again, this is all assuming you retire at 55, with a final salary of RM5,600. 

  Benefits  

 
	 No subtraction from base pay. 
 

 Unlike EPF, as we will see later, there is no subtraction from your base salary. 

 
	 Guaranteed monthly retirement funding 
 

 Again, unlike EPF, where your money can be withdrawn for other uses, pension takers are guaranteed to have a monthly source of income. 

  Disadvantages  

 
	 You have to start and end your service in the public/government sector. It might hamper your ability to seek work overseas, better base salaries, or even some chances to study. 
 

 EPF or Employees Provident Fund (KWSP - Kumpulan Simpanan Wang Pekerja) 

  What is it?  
EPF is the accumulation of savings generated from deductions of your base salary. Currently, you can choose either 11%, or 8%, as  recently announced . 

 This accumulation of money is further grown by annual dividends. On average the dividend is around 6%, depending on the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country. 

 What makes EPF great as long term savings is due to the magic of  compound interest. . Your employer also contributes to your fund (12% of your pay). These two things make an EPF account grow substantially when properly managed. 

  2 accounts  

 Your EPF savings are divided into two accounts. 70% goes into account 1, and the rest to account 2. Account 1 is your retirement funds. Account 2 is withdrawable, under a few conditions: 

 
	 more than 50 years old 
	 Housing downpayment for your 1st house 
	 housing loan payment 
	 education 
	 medical costs 
	 Hajj pilgrimage 
 

 Upon reaching the age of 55, you will be able to withdraw from account 1. You will have to choose to withdraw one lump sum, or as a monthly stipend like a pension. 

  Calculation  

 Let’s take the same example as just now. Start work at 20, salary RM2,000, retire at 55, salary RM5,000. 

 
 Deduction from pay = 11% = RM220 
Employer contribution = 12% = RM240 
 We will assume no withdrawals are made over entire working period  
EPF annual dividend = 6% 
 

 The interest adds up year over year, and with the help of EPF’s  online calculator , 

 Total EPF savings at 55 years old = RM461,900 

 It is a marginally higher amount than RM176,400 gratuity you will receive from a pension. 

  Benefits  

 
	 Flexibility. At the age of 55, you can withdraw that money and invest in another scheme, venture, or fund that offers greater returns. 
	 Faster growth. As shown, even with a contribution of 11% of your pay, over the course of 35 years it balloons into a large amount of money. 
	 Freedom of employment. You no longer have to work within the constraints of the government or public service. You are free to pursue study or work opportunities as you wish. 
 

  Disadvantages  

 
	 Sometimes things don’t go as planned. You might hit a financial roadblock that forces you to withdraw from your EPF fund. An example of this is a medical emergency. 
	 It subtracts 11% of your base salary. 11% might not seem like much, but for people who live paycheck to paycheck, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. 
	 Annual dividend from EPF can decrease, depending on economic climate. 
 

 Making a comparison 

 Monthly funds 

 Assuming that you live until the mean life expectancy age in Malaysia, which is 76 years old. 

 
 Years to live off retirement fund (pension) = 76-55 = 21 years 
 

 To make a fair comparison, let’s subtract the gratuity amount of a pension scheme from the lump sum of EPF savings. 

 
 EPF at 55 years old - gratuity of pension at 55 years old = RM461,900 - RM176,400 = RM285,500 

 Stipend per month that EPF provides = RM285,500 / 21 years / 12 months = RM1,132.94/month 
 

 Even if we did not subtract the gratuity value, it would be: 

 
 RM461,900 / 21 years / 12 months = RM1,832.94/ month 
 

  It is far less than RM2,600/month from a pension scheme . 

 What if we invest all of EPF savings? 

 Say at the age of 55, you embark on another investment with better returns. We will assume 8%. You pile up all your savings into it. 

 Investment return x EPF savings = 8% x RM 461,900 = RM36,952/year or RM3,079.33/month. 

  It is more than what you’ll obtain from a pension.  However you’ll need to ensure that the second investment has better returns than EPF dividends. That in itself can sometimes be a challenge. 

 Conclusion 

 They both have their advantages and drawbacks. It seems like it is up to you to play it well, to ensure you can lead a comfortable life upon retirement. 

 However the main question of choosing either EPF or pension as retirement savings often boils down to your choice of employer. 

 Will you stay with the government sector for another 30+ years? You don’t want to end up with no retirement fund… No EPF or no pension. That’d be the worst. 

 If yes, go for the pension scheme. It is safe, guaranteed, and offers great peace of mind in your golden years. 

 However, with EPF, you are free to take up opportunities that come your way. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Australia are actively seeking out Malaysian nurses with extremely attractive pay. Opportunities for post-graduate education are more limited in the government sector; if in private, you get to choose when you want to do it. You can also fund it with your EPF savings, something you can’t do on a pension. 

 Choose the freedom of choice. Search for high-paying nursing jobs, and overseas jobs on MIMS Career. Browse, save, and apply for nursing jobs, all in one-click. Take the opportunity for higher pay and better work locations. Our pages are all mobile-responsive, allowing you to take that leap for a better job whenever, wherever you are. All our job postings are heavily screened to prevent scams and mistrustful behavior. 
   

 
 Our Most Popular Articles 

  Think About These 5 Things Before You Decide On A Specialization  

  5 Things Nurses Need To Know To Be Paid More  

  10 Ways Malaysian Nurses Can Increase Their Income

EPF (KWSP), or Pension? Which to choose?

For those nurses serving with Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), the start of your work life will present you with one of the toughest choices you’ll make: EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund, also known as KWSP), or choose...

Read More