A perfusionist is a medical professional that operates circulation equipment during medical procedures in which a temporary replacement of circulatory and respiratory functions are needed. Most commonly they are used during heart surgeries.
The main job of a perfusionist is operate heart and lung machines to provide temporary heart and lung functions to a patient that is having heart surgery. The perfusionist sets up and operates heart and lung machines to provide a patient with heart and lung function during surgery or during respiratory failure and other emergencies. They look over the patients chart and review their medical history. They may consult with the surgeon and other physicians that the patient has seen to get more information. They may update charts and medical records with the information that was provided from these physicians. They use this information when setting up the heart or lung function machines. They test all machines before use. They perform any maintenance that is needed. They ensure that the machine is working and meets all of the specified requirements before each use. They operate the equipment. Perfusionists administer drugs and anesthetic. They control the body temperature and blood circulation during these procedures. They monitor the patient and machine at all times to maintain normal body functions. After each use they clean and fix any damaged machines.
The current perfusionist salary is about $60,000 per year in the United States. This amount will depend on your experience level, education, type of place you work and even the area of the United States that you work in. Experience is very important in any of the medical careers out there. It is also important in the career of an perfusionist. The starting perfusionist salary is about $40,000 per year. Each year that you work in the field and gain experience you will see your salary increase accordingly. By the time you have five years of experience your perfusionist income will increase to as much as $55,000 per year. Ten years of experience will see your perfusionist pay rate increase to $85,000 per year. Fifteen years of experience will increase the perfusionist salary to $100,000 per year. The top salary can be found once you have at least twenty years of experience. At this level the perfusionist salary is at $125,000 a year. It is important to understand that these are just the average amounts and it is possible to be offered even more in certain areas of the United States.
If you have decided that you want to become a perfusionist you will need to attend one of the twenty one schools that offer an accredited perfusionist program. Requirements to enter these programs will vary. Some may require a bachelor’s degree in another health care program. Some may require as much as eighty credits in math and science and other programs may require you to have real life medical or health care experience. It is best to check with the program that you choose to make sure that you meet all of their requirements. These programs typically take about one to two years to complete. Upon completion you will need to take a certification test. If you pass this test you will become a clinical perfusionist. Courses of study will include pathophysiology, clinical research, experimental research, clinical project management, biology, anatomy, biostatistic, perfusion technology, surgery and more. Courses will include classroom work in addition to clinical rotations. This will be hands on in which you will be able to work with real patients.
Perfusionist Job Description:
The job description for a perfusionist is typically within some type of medical facility. This can include a hospital, medical or surgical clinic, outpatient care facilities, nursing home or other types of medical facilities. Typically they work in operating and surgery rooms. The environment is typically clean, sterile, temperature controlled and nicely maintained. You will be working in a team environment and will need to be able to handle a highly stressful and fast paced environment. The work schedule for a perfusionist is typically a normal full time schedule. However the hours work will often depend on the place that you work. Some may work nights or weekends and others may be on call twenty four hours a day. It will depend on the hours of the place that you work at.
A perfusionist is a very important part of the surgery team. They work to ensure that a patients bodily functions are still working while they are getting high risk surgeries such as open heart surgery or bypass surgery. This is a career that is highly stressful and will involve having a very high level of attention to detail. If you feel like you can handle all of these skills and tasks then this may be the perfect job for you.