PulseLine takes you behind the scenes to a look at what a day in the life of an industry-employed cardiac technician is really like.
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I want to thank PulseLine for their online story about the profession of “cardiac technicians”. However, I feel it would be remiss not to mention a couple of issues regarding this story. Firstly, the term cardiac technician has not been in use since the mid-2000’s, the collective term for the profession has been cardiac technologist. The peak representative body of cardiac technologists, Professionals in Cardiac Sciences Australia (www.picsa.org.au) has been campaigning since early 2017 for the industry to progress to a new name of Cardiac Physiologist. The reasons behind this change in professional nomenclature are to align the profession more with the Canadian and United Kingdom workforces and acknowledgement that the job has moved beyond being just technicians or technologists; we are now represented by employees with multiple degrees, some of them as high as PhD.
While the area of pacemaker/cardiac rhythm management is a vital part of the profession, it is not the only area that cardiac physiologists are working. Generally, new science graduates would find placement within a hospital-based cardiology department where they are trained in aspects of non-invasive cardiac physiology (ECG, stress testing, and Holter monitoring to name a few). From that point they would be trained in invasive cardiac physiology, eventually to become an integral member of the on-call cardiac infarct team. The infarct team is available 24/7 to respond to heart attacks and provide the life-saving treatment of opening blocked coronary arteries. The cardiac physiologist along with the nursing staff and cardiologists work as a team to prevent any further damage from that blocked coronary artery.
It is usually at this point of the cardiac physiologists professional training that they decide to either enter into the area of pacemaker/cardiac rhythm management or to cardiac sonography. Both of these ‘subspecialties’ of cardiac physiology involve extensive training and further studies.
The video quite rightly pointed out that cardiac physiologists are not registered, this is a significant hindrance to the advancement of our profession. PICSA is working towards this ultimate goal but as can be expected with a volunteer organisation making headway into the political arena of health care registration is a very time-consuming endeavour.
I want to applaud the video of PulseLine but ask that the next time a heavy industry based/sponsored video is produced they engage all areas of the profession to provide a uniform and up-to-date snapshot of what is going on in the occupation of cardiac physiology.
For the sake of open disclosure, I am a past board member of PICSA, and I am currently a board member of the Australasian Sonographers Association (ASA). However, the views shared in this commentary on my own and should not be regarded as official commentary from either PICSA or the ASA.
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