iPodtosis

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A good friend of mine currently working as a medical technologist is looking for a career change and ask for my opinion. He wants to stay in the field of healthcare but want a more challenging (better compensated) career.

I found out about this perfusionist profession when my aunt got admitted for a heart surgery; and the job responsibilities, lifestyle, and length of training somewhat match my friend's interest. But before I advise him about this profession, I would like to hear more info/stories from different people so I don't point him to the wrong path.

If any of you pre-meds, med students, or physicians, have worked with or know some valuable info about being a perfusionist, please kindly share with me. I would be greatly appreciated if I can learn more about job placement, responsibilities, avg compensation, future market and competition.

Thanks in advance! :)
 

mvenus929

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There's a book out called Healing Hearts; it's a memoir of a female heart surgeon. That's the first time I had heard of perfusionists... she says at some point that next to her, that is THE most important person in the OR, because if they don't do their job right, the person will die.

Not much to add to the discussion, but it's what I remember :)
 

willen101383

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While I have never worked alongside one...I am a medical technologist too. While I think it would potentially be a pretty boring job...it has its similarities to MT for sure!
 

plauto

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I think all in all it's pretty boring. You sit on front of the CPB machine and make sure it's ready to go. There are some baseline numbers you're supposed to keep on track but the surgeon tells you what he/she needs and when. It does not require much intellectual ability. You're just pushing some buttons, turning some knobs, and writing down a lot of numbers. I can't see it as being a fun job, but I am no tech so I don't know how it compares to what techs usually do.
 

Dial71

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For what it's worth, an RT I work with, who rotated through a level I trauma center, described it as this:

"You stare intently at a little clear pipe, watching for bubbles, for hours. Tiny bubbles--in the blood--that don't make you happy."

Keep in mind that the machine he was describing was circa late eighties and I am sure that the profession is more than that today, but I got a laugh out of it.

This technology is getting bigger too. Not just in surgery, but also in medicine. I remember reading that some H1N1 patients were placed on bypass after suffering such severe lung damage that they just couldn't ventilate them enough. They even extubated a few of these pts and they were conscious while on bypass for days!

I imagine that as the costs of this technology go down, the use of ECMO and the need for these techs will increase.
 

7starmantis

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I dont know about boring, I would consider anesthesiology to be boring, so what do I compare it with? Aside from that I have a friend back home that owns his own machines, and has a group (hires perfusionists) and pays them very well. The schooling isn't too bad and pay is decent, hours are ok. There is room for an entrepreneurial person to move up and make very good money.

I think its a great career with room to move up and on if desired. Its probably pretty boring to most, but who likes tech or even anesthesiology jobs? Not me.

Some links about the job

http://www.mayo.edu/mshs/cardioperf-career.html
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Medical_Perfusionist/Salary
 

Morsetlis

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Anesthesiology is boring until the pt dies while you fall asleep browsing Facebook.
 
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iPodtosis

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Thanks for all the responses, and thanks 7star for the links.
I suppose the greatest risk of going into this field is the repetitiveness and the boredom that comes along.
Other than that, job security seems to be pretty solid and, like Dial71 said, the market is expanding.

So no one worked with a perfusionist before? I am tempting to link this thread in the cardiology forum if i am allowed to.
 

7starmantis

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So no one worked with a perfusionist before?
Nope, I would see him in the OR all the time and he would be after me to follow him for a while but I never did. He really wanted me to go into that field. He was one of the big names in that field, really making some things happen there. I just tried to explain that I was going to med school and there was nothing that would change that. :)
 
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So no one worked with a perfusionist before?
I have worked/hung out with them before. The amount of school for the amount of money you make is a pretty good trade. The work itself is pretty easy on you. The perfusionist that work where I work do things besides CPB. They also do ABI's and manage the IABP's if they malfunction. On they whole they seem satisfied with what they do.
 

GoodmanBrown

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There's a book out called Healing Hearts; it's a memoir of a female heart surgeon. That's the first time I had heard of perfusionists... she says at some point that next to her, that is THE most important person in the OR, because if they don't do their job right, the person will die.

Not much to add to the discussion, but it's what I remember :)
I bet that makes the anesthesiologists feel great...