Index
Ep Defined | Getting Started | Working in the EP Lab
Right Atrium | Right Ventricle | Left Atrium | Left Ventricule | Cardiac Conduction | Cardiac Cell Properties | Action Potential | Sympathetic or Not | Med Page
Electrograms Defined | Recording Modes | Electrode Spacing | Filters | EGM Interpretation | Arrhythmia Analysis
The Physical Lab | Tools of the Trade
Setting Up | Catheter Placement | Baseline Measurement | SNRT | Conduction Study | Arrhythmia Induction | Pacing Protocols | Ablation | Tilt Table | Secrets to Success
Bradycardia | Atrial Tach | Atrial Flutter | Atrial Fibrillation | AVNRT | AVRT | Ventricular Tachycardia
Surface ECG's | Intracardiac Questions | Med Challenge | Advanced

Getting Started - Program Selection

What type of EP Program should you look for?

          Another consideration to keep in mind if you are planning on making the move to EP is the type of program you will be working in.  With the rapid growth of cardiac electrophysiology, new EP programs have sprung up literally around the world. With the advent of all these programs has come the increased need for people to staff these new labs.  Lab managers are on the constant lookout for anyone who expresses even a slight interest in EP.  Mention that you once touched a button on a Bloom Stimulator and you may suddenly find that you have a job offer to come work at the new EP lab that is being built in the near future.  Before accepting any position, it is prudent to first do a little investigative research.

           When you are looking into a new program, there are a number of questions that should be asked.

• Is the EP program independent or is it an offshoot of another department? - In order to get good at EP, it takes roughly 18-24 months of daily activity in the EP lab. If the program you are considering joining is an offshoot of a cardiac cath lab, it will be difficult to attain any degree of proficiency.  Electrophysiology is one of those fields where repeated exposure is essential to the learning process.

• What resources will be provided for the lab staff to learn EP? -If a facility is going to invest the resources to start a program, it should, at the very least, provide some form of education to the staff. Initially, a simple 1-2 day program will get the staff started. This first class should not happen until after the staff have had a few months to get oriented to the workflow in the lab. Management should also plan on sending 2 or more people to the Heart Rhythm Society conference which happens annually in mid May.

• What job duties are required and what will you be allowed to do? -Depending upon what your expectations are, you may want to get clarification as to what you will be expected and/or allowed to do. If you are looking to join a program that allows you to expand your knowledge and abilities, you may want to avoid major teaching institutes. Often times, the majority of duties at these locations are relegated to the fellows. If you are a hands on person who wants to learn how all the cool machines in the EP lab work, make sure that you will be afforded that opportunity in what ever program you join.

• Is there financial incentive provided to those who are willing to attain and demonstrate verifiable proficiency? - If it is your intent to learn as much about EP as possible, make sure that you are in a lab where efforts of this kind will be rewarded. It can be extremely frustrating to be the only person in the lab who has demonstrated proficiency by attaining a verifiable proficiency in your field. Currently, the most widely accepted indicator of proficiency in EP is the HRS exam certifications. The Heart Rhythm Society has two exams that are designed to demonstrate knowledge of either implantable devices or EP. Each one of these certifications you have should provide you with an appropriate pay increase.

          The ideal situation for working in EP is one that provides YOU with the best opportunities. At the same time, it is an investment on the part of the program that hires you to work in their lab. If the program you chose to work for offers you the chance to learn and grow in the field of EP, make sure that you respond in kind. It is not for lab managers to ask for a commitment from the staff member in return for the opportunity to learn a new field. After all, if they are going to invest time and money into your education, you should be willing to commit to working for their program for an appropriate time period.

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