Nursing Education
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Perfusionist

   

Perfusionists are members of the surgical team that performs open-heart and other cardiac surgeries. They set up and operate the heart-lung machine that keeps the patient alive by pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body while the heart is being operated on. The heart-lung machine is also capable of regulating oxygen, carbon dioxide, and blood chemistry. While the operation is taking place, the perfusionist is in charge of monitoring the patient’s blood circulation and keeping the rest of the surgical team informed of any changes. They may also use the machine in cases of respiratory failure, so they must be capable of thinking independently and responding quickly to emergencies. Perfusionists are often in charge of providing long-term support of the patient’s circulation after the operation is concluded. Anyone interested in this profession should have the ability to concentrate for long periods of time and have excellent communication skills. Other skills that are important for a perfusionist to possess are having a strong sense of responsibility, being able to take and carry out orders, and being able to work well under extreme pressure.  


Work Environment:

 

Perfusionists work in several different environments, but they are usually employed by hospitals. Individual surgeons and companies that supply facilities with perfusion services employ them in various roles. They may also work in research and development or in marketing or sales.


High School Preparation:

 

High school students interested in a future as a perfusionist should take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, health occupations/medical professions education, computer skills, social studies, English, algebra, and geometry.


College Requirements:

 

Prerequisites for admission into perfusionist programs vary greatly depending on the length and design of the program. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree with emphasis on medical technology, respiratory therapy, biological sciences, or nursing. Perfusionist programs are generally one to four years in length and are highly competitive. To become licensed, individuals must pass oral and written examinations given by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP).

 

Students interested in perfusion should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

 

Employment opportunities for perfusionist are expected to fluctuate from high to low throughout the next decade. There is an expected expansion of 20% - 35% in job opportunities over the next ten years. This is partly due to the rapidly aging baby-boom generation that will require more open-heart surgeries as they get older. There is also added emphasis on cardiac health due to the fact that heart related illnesses are responsible for a large number of deaths each year. There will also be job openings due to current cardiovascular professionals retiring or leaving the field for other reasons. Because the profession is relatively small and competitive, job security should be high for these cardiac professionals.  
 

 

Salary:

 

Average Annual Salary

$86,400

 

Salary Range

$65,700-$98,200

 

Professional Organizations:

 

American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP)

207 North 25th Avenue

Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Phone: (601) 582-2227

Fax: (601) 582-2271

www.abcp.org

 

American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology (AmSECT)
2009 Dickens Road

Richmond VA 23230
Phone: (804) 565-6363
Fax: (804) 282-0090

www.amsect.org

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