A cardio-pulmonary perfusionist works alongside a surgeon and helps perform crucial tasks, so that the surgeon can focus on performing the surgery. The perfusionist overseas the heart and lung machines that monitor and aid the patient throughout the surgery. Medicines and blood components that are needed during the surgery are actually administered by the perfusionist. Certain anesthetics may also be given by the perfusionist.
Usually, certification as a perfusionist is required, which can be obtained by attending classes at an accredited school in this discipline and then taking tests to obtain certification. Inventory duties may be given so that supplies are always available. Prior to any surgery being carried out, the perfusionist should prepare the machines as necessary. Periodically, the perfusionist will also be required to carry out maintenance on the machines to ensure their optimal operation. The ability to troubleshoot and to observe when certain therapies are not working is essential, so that this can be reported to the surgeon. With the surgeon’s permission, the perfusionist may make changes during the surgery process.
Strong teamwork skills are essential, as the perfusionist will have to work with physicians and other medical staff. It is important to keep up to date with the newest developments in the field, so that suggestions to changes in equipment or policy can be made. The hours for this job vary, as surgeries are performed around the clock at some medical institutions. Some places of employment will require the perfusionist to be on call on certain days. In many positions, the perfusionist will be expected to administer training to students and residents.
Cardio-Pulmonary Perfusionist Tasks
Monitor patient's circulatory process during procedure.
Operate heart-lung equipment during surgery under direction of physician.
Administer various types of blood products, medication and control the temperature and blood flow of patient.