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thumbnail_Ruth Andrea OutschoornWhat year did you graduate? 


What course did you study? 

Healthcare Science - Cardiac Physiology 


What is your current role?  

I work for Barts Health NHS Trust as a non-invasive Cardiac Physiologist covering holter analysis, exercise treadmill testing and ECG when needed and I use my skills to train others in these areas. I am currently providing my support in echocardiography whilst training and preparing for the BSC exam. 

How did you get into your current role?  

Once I had finished my studies with St George’s, I decided to start off my career with a locum role in order to understand how different hospital sites operate and I was able to meet and learn from many skilled cardiac physiologists throughout this experience. During my training at university, I was exposed to some pacing, echo and invasive diagnostic procedures; angiograms, PCIs and pacing implants. However, I was unable to apply this knowledge to my locuming role and further investigate these areas. Therefore, after a couple of years at Barts as a locum I decided to apply for the permanent role and obtain training to further develop my skills in other areas of cardiac diagnostic procedures and further flourish in my career. 

Can you describe a typical day?  

We see to many patients with complex pathologies. I work efficiently when analysing holters within a specific time frame. We must organise and prioritise the workload by ensuring that we have adequate holter requests with viable information especially when seeing to ward patients.  

An important aspect of this role involves the ability to work in and contribute to a team environment daily. I share my skillset with my work colleagues – for example, through training others to use spacelabs and interpret ECGs and I learn from others to further develop my skills. Team-work and collaborative skills are especially important during stressful situations such as if a patient has collapsed whilst we are performing an exercise treadmill test or when finding a significant diagnosis on an echo.  

We must be aware of the best methods to escalate significant findings. These include bleeping the on-call registrar and sending emails to referring consultants with all the necessary information. 

What do you enjoy about your role?  

I love to learn. Every day you will come home having learnt something new such as from findings on an echo or an arrhythmia on a holter. The doctors can be very helpful, explaining their thought process behind actions that they take based on significant diagnoses.  

We have educational presentations every week allowing us to expand our knowledge in cardiology and provide our input.  

I also work with an incredible team of approachable, hardworking, intelligent and kind people who motivate me every day.  

What do you find challenging in your current role?  

One crucial aspect of this role involves the ability to cope with a heavy workload in a high-pressured environment. There are moments when I have had to juggle performing ECGs, fitting holters and analysing tapes because we were incredibly short-staffed, and I have provided support to the echocardiographers by scanning patients where there have been overbooked clinic lists. We see to many elderly patients and patients with various pathologies meaning that we tend to find significant diagnoses quite often, and therefore time management and decision-making skills are put to the test.  

What advice would you give to a current student at St George’s who is keen to get into a similar area of work as you?  

My advice is to follow your own pathway. Do not compare yourself to others. Everybody has their own career pathway; give yourself the time to decide what you want and find what areas of physiology you enjoy - whether that is cardiology or respiratory.  

Search for jobs even if it is temporary locum work so that you can obtain experience and meet different people that will help you learn and grow as a healthcare professional. When working at various hospitals, show that you are hardworking, friendly, motivated and reliable because this will help when you are applying for jobs and need references. The most important thing with this role is to show initiative and that you are keen to learn because you will always be learning beyond university.  

Which aspects of your degree are relevant for your current role?  

Most things that I have learnt at university is being applied to my work but the most effective aspect of the degree was the clinical placements. I learnt a lot during my placements such as learning to communicate with patients in a sensitive yet professional manner and performing various cardiac diagnostic procedures. 

What would you say were the best, and the most challenging things about your degree?  

The best things were lectures and clinical placements as I was able to apply my theoretical knowledge from my lectures to my practical training on placement. However, being away on clinical placement meant that we were away from university and our classmates and studying for exams whilst working 30 hours a week was stressful at times.  

If you could go back to your time at St George’s, would you do anything differently?  

I don’t think I would have done anything very differently. I think maybe have taken more advantage of being a student on clinical placements and asked for more opportunities to develop experience in lab, echo and pacing.  

Do you have any advice or a message for current students at St George’s?  

Enjoy it, ask questions, show your enthusiasm and learn from your clinical placements. Communicate with your tutors often by email because they are there to help you. Speak with your friends about their experiences and learn from each other.  

Do you have any advice or a message for students considering studying at St George’s?  

St George’s is a great place to study; it is very diverse and filled with intelligent people. You will make lifelong friends who will encourage and motivate you for the rest of your life and you will most definitely cross paths with your colleagues in your future careers.  


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