Luize from Latvia

Luize (27) from Latvia completed a two-month clinical observership at the Department for Congenital Heart Disease − Pediatric Cardiology. Here you can read why Luize decided to visit the DHZB and what her typical working day looks like.

Why have you chosen cardiology?

I have been interested in cardiology since I was 15. My aunt was a pediatric cardiologist. When she did an echocardiography for me for the first time and I heard the sound of my heart – that was a magical moment. I found this pumping organ to be very powerful and adorable. Later on, even my scientific project at school was “Congenital heart diseases”. During my first years in university I was interested in both - adult and pediatric cardiology, but after the third year I already knew, that I want to work only with children. Until now, my enthusiasm for pediatric cardiology has not diminished at all. I love it!

Why have you chosen the DHZB for you clinical observership?

I have always known the DHZB as one of the best pediatric cardiology centers in Europe. I knew that I will visit this clinic at some point of my career. When I worked in another big pediatric cardiology center in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, I  realized how important it is to see how patients are managed in different clinics and how important it is for a doctor who comes from a small country to get experience in such a busy center as the DHZB is. In March 2018, I met Dr. Stanislav Ovroutski, a cardiologists who works at the DHZB. He came to our hospital in Latvia to consult some of our patients. Thanks to our cardiac surgeon’s Dr. Valts Ozolins initiative and Dr. Ovroutski, I was able to organize my traineeship here. 

What is special about the German Heart Center Berlin?

The DHZB is one of the reference centers for pediatric cardiology in Europe. This center has a very good experience with heart transplantation, ventricular assist devices and managing patients with univentricular heart physiology. 

Is there a typical piece of instrument that reflects your work best (except a stethoscope)?

If I would have to pick a symbol for my work, it would be a question mark. Why? Because I am constantly asking “Why?”. Since medicine can be subjective at times, I highly value working and learning in an environment where constructive questioning is a way of optimizing a treatment plan. 

What a typical working day at the DHZB looks like?

For me each day is different. I have been to outpatient unit, intermediate care department, intensive care unit, catheterization laboratory and operating room. In intermediate care department and ICU, the day starts with detailed handover of all the patients. After that I join medical assistants during the word rounds. The part of the day that I enjoy the most is performing echocardiography and discussing the treatment plan, choice of the surgery and/or intervention, possible long-term results. When there is a heart transplantation or any challenging surgery happening, I always go to OR to watch it. 

Do you have any advices for future clinical observers?

Be enthusiastic, ask a lot of questions, read local guidelines, share your experience with others and love cardiology as much as I do. And smile, that always helps!