Story

Role Models: Preventative Cardiology

Read
Dr Susan Connolly
Derry, Northern Ireland
If I had to start over I would make the same career choices again. Yes it has been certainly challenging at times but having good mentors (male and female) along the way really helped and I think I have found a balance that works for me.

I am a Consultant Cardiologist, Western Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. My subspecialist is preventive cardiology. I moved to Northern Ireland in 2017 as I am a single parent and after having twins in 2014 I wanted to be closer to my family. Prior to that I had been a consultant in Imperial College Healthcare Trust for 13 years where I had led the Imperial Programme for Cardiovascular Health. I was fortunate when I moved to the WHSCT to secure funding that means I was able to set up a similar programme here. The programme is based on research I carried out in Imperial College providing comprehensive evidence-based care to patients with established cardiovascular disease or those who are at high multifactorial risk. As the clinical lead for the programme it is very satisfying to see the results that we achieve in terms of helping patients achieve healthy lifestyle change, better control of their blood pressure and cholesterol as well as improving their psychological health.

With COVID we rapidly transformed the programme to a virtual platform which has been really exciting to do and I am now a complete convert to digital health.

I am also level 2 accredited in cardiac CT which I started doing when I moved to the WHSCT and it marries very well with my subspecialist interest. Being able to show patients their images facilitates very useful conversations about lifestyle change and risk reduction in clinic. I am now involved in the NI Taskforce for CVD Prevention which was initiated by BHF NI and our ambition is to transform preventive cardiology services in NI which is very exciting.

Although my job is a busy one it is very enjoyable and what makes it possible as a single parent is good childcare and a support network that I have established. I am also able to do things like the school run every morning as the commute is so short (unlike in London!) and that really helps in terms of seeing the other parents and touching base with teachers if needed. Weekends are spent walking in the beautiful lakelands of Fermanagh (known as Northern Irelands lake District!) with the twins and our border collie Harry. I also like to cook and am about to start a kitchen renovation and so I fall asleep at night at the moment amidst a pile of interior design magazines. If I had to start over I would make the same career choices again. Yes it has been certainly challenging at times but having good mentors (male and female) along the way really helped and I think I have found a balance that works for me.

Keep reading...

Flexible Working
I Have Found Working Less Than Full Time Very Fulfilling

I have found working less than full time very fulfilling.

Dr Kristian Skinner
March 24, 2022
Resource
Return To Work Guidelines

Resources for cardiology trainees and consultants returning to work after a period of absence.

May 26, 2022
Resource
Support for Victims of Sexual Misconduct

A list of links and resources for those who have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct.

March 5, 2024
All Articles