A pledge to care

Compassion and empathy are some of the essential qualities of a good doctor, according to a northern-based specialist.

31 August 2018 | People

TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA



Ongwediva-based cardiologist Dr James Nkurunziza has opened up to Careers about his demanding job as well as making a difference in the lives of patients.

“A cardiologist is a physician who focuses on evaluating and treating cardiac diseases. We also emphasise the importance of different cardiac pathology,” says Nkurunziza, who is based at the Ongwediva Medipark private hospital.

“We show patients the importance of following a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet and (highlight) dangerous habits that could lead to cardiac diseases. A lot of our patients are evaluated and treated in a catheterisation laboratory where we implant pacemakers as well as treat adult patients with heart attacks and blocked vessels,” he said.

“With regards to being a physician, physicians are doctors who have completed further training in a medical specialty to diagnose and manage complex medical problems.”

Nkurunziza first completed his general six-year medicine degree at the University of Rwanda.

After completing training in internal medicine at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Nkurunziza did not rest on his laurels and decided to pursue cardiology training.

He did his cardiology training for three years at the same university.

“Cardiology is one of those specialities where you can make such an impact with immediate and long-term benefits,” he said.

“After high school, I embarked on my training to be a general practitioner in medicine for six years. After this, I had to spend three years doing an internship and community service. Since medicine is a vast discipline with multiple specialities, I felt compelled to focus on a speciality and chose to study internal medicine for four years as this is the required foundation to a cardiology training, which lasts three years.”

Nkurunziza listed patience, compassion and empathy as the most important character traits a cardiology specialist and physician should possess.

“There are a sizable number of cardiology patients which dictate that a cardiologist is required to work normal as well as emergency shifts; this requires you to really have a love for your job,” he advised.

“My speciality is one of the most exciting ones in the sense that you can reverse the process of a disease that would take someone's life, especially during severe heart attack cases, and you feel excited to see your patient being discharged and going home. This is definitely has to be the ultimate highlight.”

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