What is a Cardiac physiologist? Everything you need to know about working as a UK cardiac physiologist
Cardiac physiologists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease. Their role responsibilities include setting up equipment, carrying out procedures and recording and analysing the results. As a cardiac physiologist, you are trained to notice impaired function of the heart: involving blood flow; myocardium structure; the electrical conduction system of the heart; the cardiac cycle and cardiac output. You will also be trained to notice how these interact and depend on one another, and how these affect other organs/systems within the body.
Duties and responsibilities:
Cardiac physiologists have many duties and responsibilities, such as cardiac tests, including:
Holter monitors (24-hour ECG)
blood pressure measurement
Cardiac Physiologists may also work in the catheter lab assisting with angiogram and angioplasty procedures, or pacemaker/ ICD implantation.
Where can cardiac physiologists work?
Cardiac physiologists can work in a variety of workplaces, including:
What qualifications does a cardiac physiologist need?
To practise as a Cardiac Physiologist in the UK, you will need to have:
A minimum of five 9-4 (A*-C) grade GCSEs (or the equivalent), usually including maths, English and a double science GCSE. You should apply for at least two A levels (or the equivalent) at college or 6th form.
A relevant post-graduate degree in specialist areas. If you’re a new graduate, excellent references and practical experiences from your university will need to be supplied.
BSE, ARDMS, EACVI accreditation is desirable for Echocardiography roles
RCCP registration is desirable across all niches within Cardiac Physiology
What is a cardiac physiologist’s salary?
Band 5: £24,214 - £31,112
Band 6: £30,401 - £37,267
Band 7: £37.570 - £43,772
Banding works based on the skill set you have chosen to specify in. For example, an Echocardiographer would usually look to be Band 7+ level, Cath Lab/Device Physiologists can be Band 6/7+ and non-invasive Physiologists can be Band 5/6+.
Working as a locum cardiac physiologist
Band 5: £18 - £24+ an hour
Band 6: £28 - £38+ an hour
Band 7: £38 - £45+ an hour
Working as a locum Cardiac Physiologist can differ to a full-time role in the following ways:
6-12+ month contracts available
Can work weekends and evenings for enhanced rates
High expectations on a locum to come in and hit the ground running without a huge amount of training and/or supervision
You can pick where you want to work and what area of Physiology you want to work in
Gain experience using different computer systems and settings
Tend to avoid bureaucracy
Greater flexibility with hours
Paid per hour worked
1 weeks’ notice if you wish is to try a different role
How to become a cardiac physiologist
To work as a cardiac physiologist in the UK, you'll need to apply for an approved 3-year healthcare science degree where you can specialise in cardiac physiology, which includes placements in the NHS. To apply, you'll usually need at least two A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications), including a science subject.
Healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeships where you could specialise in cardiac physiology may be available in some parts of the country and you'll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications. Alternatively, you could take a science degree then apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.