Cardiovascular Perfusionist Education and Career Pathway
If you interested in the cardiovascular perfusionist career, it is important to know the kind of education and certification you need to start and advance your career, including the qualities you need to be a successful cardiovascular perfusionist.
This post provides exhaustive information to help you learn about the cardiovascular perfusionist career, including the education you need to have to become one, please read on:
Why Choose Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career?
The cardiovascular perfusionist career path offers many opportunities for advancement within the medical field.
The job can be performed by a single individual or as part of a team.
As an independent contractor, a cardiovascular perfusionist may work with other professionals such as surgeons, nurses, physicians, technicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and others.
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Education Requirements
To become a cardiovascular perfusionist, you must earn at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, or another related health care profession.
You also need to complete coursework in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, and microbiology.
In addition, you should have experience working with cardiac catheterization labs, operating rooms, intensive care units, and emergency departments.
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Continuing Education
In order to maintain your certification as a cardiovascular perfusionist you must take continuing education courses every two years. These courses include topics such as:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Cardiac Catheterization Lab
- Operating Room
- Intensive Care Unit
- Emergency Department
- Patient Safety/Hospital Infection Control
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Certification/License
You must obtain a license from the state board of nursing before you begin practicing as a cardiovascular perfusion specialist.
To do so, you must pass a national exam administered by the National Board of Nursing Examiners.
After passing this exam, you must apply for licensure through your state board of nursing.
The certification bodies for a cardiovascular perfusionist include:
- American Society of Anesthesiologists
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
- American Society of Echocardiography
- American College of Chest Physicians
- Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career Pathways
There are several different ways to pursue a cardiovascular perfusionist career. Some of these pathways include:
- Independent Contractor
You can choose to work independently as an independent contractor. Your employer would not provide any benefits or pay insurance premiums.
However, you would receive a salary based on the number of hours worked each week.
2. Hospital Staff Perfusionist
As a hospital staff perfusionist, you would work directly for a hospital. You could perform all aspects of cardiovascular perfusion services, including preoperative assessment, intraoperative management, postoperative care, and discharge planning.
3. Private Practice Perfusion
A private practice perfusionist works independently in his or her own office. This is usually done in conjunction with a physician’s office.
A private practice perfusionist manages patients who require cardiovascular perfusion services.
He or she performs procedures such as coronary angioplasty, balloon valvuloplasty, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), pacemaker implantation, and electrophysiological studies.
4. Public Health Service (PHS)
The U.S. Public Health Service provides healthcare professionals to assist communities in meeting their public health needs.
PHS includes more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics that serve over 40 million people annually.
The agency employs approximately 50,000 physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers, administrative officers, and other allied health personnel.
5. Regional Medical Center
Regional medical centers offer advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training programs for perfusionists.
These programs teach perfusionists how to manage patients during emergency situations.
They also prepare them for certification exams offered by the American Heart Association.
Other career paths for cardiovascular perfusionist include:
- Medical School Internship
- Residency Program
- Fellowship Program
- Clinical Instructor
- Research Assistant
- Nurse Practitioner
- Doctorate Degree
How to Advance your Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career
As a cardiovascular perfusionist there are many ways to advance your career. Some of these include:
- Work Experience
Gaining work experience will help you gain valuable skills and knowledge. It may also allow you to earn additional income.
2. Professional Organizations
Joining professional organizations will give you access to up-to-date information about new developments in the field.
3. Continuing Education Courses
Attending continuing education courses will enhance your technical skills and increase your ability to handle complex cases.
4. Certification Exams
Certification exams will demonstrate your expertise in cardiovascular perfusion.
Performing research will enable you to develop new techniques and treatments for patients.
Teaching others will expand your skill set and improve your communication abilities.
7. Specialty Training
Specialty training will broaden your understanding of specific areas within the field. For example, you can specialize in one of the following:
- Preoperative Assessment
- Intraoperative Management
- Postoperative Care
- Discharge Planning
- Pacemaker Implantation
- Electrophysiology Studies
- Coronary Angiography
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
8. Fellowship Programs
Fellowship programs are designed to provide specialized training in a particular area of cardiology.
How to Find a Good Cardiovascular Perfusionist School
There are several ways to find a good school to attend. You should consider the following when choosing a program:
Choosing a location close to home allows you to save money on transportation costs. If you live far from the city where the school is located, it may be difficult to commute.
Small schools tend to have smaller class sizes than large ones. This means that students receive individual attention. Large schools tend to have larger classes.
Look at the faculty members’ credentials and experience. Ask if they have any publications or awards.
Are they active in clinical practice? Do they have special interests or certifications?
Ask what kind of facilities the school has. Is it equipped with modern equipment? Does it have a library? What type of laboratory does it have?
5. Student Body
Ask other students who attended the school. Were they satisfied with their experiences? Did they feel comfortable asking questions?
Find out how much tuition costs. Compare this cost with similar programs offered by local hospitals.
Check with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to see if the school is accredited. The ARRT accredits more than 1,000 educational institutions worldwide.
8. Clinical Exposure
Check with the school’s director to see whether the school offers hands-on training. Also ask if the school provides opportunities for shadowing physicians.
9. Graduation Rate
Ask the school’s director about graduation rates.
10. Alumni Network
Ask alumni if they would recommend the school.
You can also check out the National Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (NASAHP).
NASAHP lists all accredited allied health professions schools and programs.
It also contains information about each school, including its address, phone number, website, and degree offerings.
How to be Successful in your Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career
To be successful in your cardiovascular perfusionist career, you must develop certain skills and characteristics. These include:
- Communication Skills
Communication skills are essential in every profession. In addition, you need these skills to communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, and superiors.
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves using logic and reasoning to analyze problems and make decisions. It helps you think through situations and solve problems.
3. Problem Solving
Problem solving is critical in most jobs. When faced with challenges, you will often need to come up with solutions.
Teamwork is an important skill in healthcare because doctors work together as a team to provide quality care.
5. Ethical Decision Making
Ethical decision making refers to making choices based on ethical principles. For example, when you choose which treatments to use for your patient, you should consider the benefits and harms of those treatments.
What Does a Cardiovascular Perfusionist Do?
A cardiovascular perfusionist performs many different tasks.
Most commonly, he/she assists surgeons during open heart surgery.
He/she may also perform procedures such as angioplasty, stenting, and balloon valvuloplasty.
Perfusionists also assist in diagnostic testing such as echocardiography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, and computed tomography.
They may even help create medical devices like pacemakers or defibrillators.
Qualities of a Good Cardiovascular Perfusionist
In order to become a good cardiovascular perfusionist, you must have certain qualities. Among them are:
Knowledge includes understanding concepts related to the field of cardiovascular perfusion.
You must know about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, and other subjects that are relevant to the field.
Skill means having the ability to apply knowledge to real life situations. This includes being able to perform procedures correctly and safely.
Attitude refers to how you feel about yourself and others. A positive attitude can motivate you to succeed in your cardiovascular perfusion career.
Dedication means working hard at what you do. If you want to be successful in your cardiovascular career, you must put forth effort and energy into it.
Integrity means doing things honestly and fairly. To be honest, you must follow the rules set by your employer. Fairness means treating everyone equally.
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national average compensation for a Cardiovascular Perfusionist in the United States is $137,277 per year.
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Job Outlook
The demand for cardiovascular perfusionists is expected to increase over the next few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 20% from 2016-2026.
If you enjoy helping people and would like to pursue a career in cardiovascular perfusion, then this career path is perfect for you.
This post has provided information to help you get the education you need to start and advance your cardiovascular perfusionist career.