What is a Perfusionist?
A perfusionist is one of the healthcare professionals who is specialized and trained in using a heart-lung machine during a cardiac surgery. The usage of such machines is also during other surgeries that mainly require a cardiopulmonary bypass to control and manage the patient physiological state. A perfusionist can also be encountered under the name of clinical or cardiovascular perfusionist.
The heart-lung machine that is used in these kind of procedures has the main function to divert the blood from the heart and lungs, adding oxygen to the blood and then returning the blood back to the body. This whole process being provided by the heart-lung machine without the actual blood having to flow through the heart.
Job Description of a Perfusionist
The duties and tasks of perfusionists involve assisting other healthcare specialists such as medical surgeons during various types of surgery such as a cardiovascular surgical procedure. Their role is to use in an efficient manner the heart-lung machine so that it will improve a patient respiratory or circulatory function by providing him or her with the necessary artificial support to the early mentioned functions.
Their responsibilities also involve administering the right blood medication as well as blood products, a certain anesthetic during the actual procedure or surgery. They will also assist the surgeons during the open heart surgeries, during an operation they will monitor the patient’s temperature or his cardiac activity.
Perfusionists are used to operate other various types of extra-corporeal body circulation equipment as well when it is about procedures involving the heart. A perfusionist’s place in this healthcare system is one that is very vital. So, it is critical when it comes to working as team with other specialists such as surgeons that will need a still heart to be able to complete their operation.
The heart-lung machine is used for pulmonary bypass and a variety of cardiothoracic procedures and interventions such as valve repairs and even organ donations. While the surgery is being performed, the main role of a perfusionist is to maintain a stable condition for each patient.
These professionals will make sure that the patient stays in a good condition for the surgery and also when it goes off bypass, the heart functions will be restored and it will take over from the heart-lung machine.
How to Become a Perfusionist?
If your dream is to become a perfusionist then you must know right from the start the right information. For instance, besides the training that you must achieve you’ll also need to possess some traits or skills that will make a lot of difference. For instance as a perfusionist you’ll have to keep calm under pressure and be able to maintain a constant focus on completing complex tasks over longer periods of time, or extended ones.
You will also have to be able to pay attention to details that in many cases can make a huge difference and that will count a lot. Another decisive factor is to be able to communicate in an effective and rapid way.
In order for you to become a perfusionist, you’ll have to complete the courses of a training program and then pass the certification exam that will mainly highlight your competency in the field. You’ll have to complete first a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, or medical technology, biological sciences or other related fields.
Then by having a degree you can attend the classes of a cardiac perfusion program that will prepare the students to possess a master’s in perfusion. This program has a two-year length involving a combination of the classroom experience, clinical training and actual experience under the surveillance of Qualified perfusionists in the operating room. A good advice on choosing a suitable program would be to find out which are the organizations that will certify this profession as a perfusionist in your country. In the United States, you’ll find about the American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion. You can easily ask for a list of all the programs that are accredited and recognized. Why is this so important?
Well, the answer is simple if the cardiac perfusion program in which you were enrolled is not accredited then you are not eligible to obtain certification. Graduating from an accredited training program will allow you to sit for an exam that will give you the certification for clinical perfusionist or else known as CCP.
You can also work as a perfusionist if you have the board eligible status and you are not certified. This will be allowed with a clear condition that will indicate that your certification is on your way. This path will give you the freedom to gain clinical experience before taking the actual certification exam to become a perfusionist.
Work Environment and Schedule
Perfusionists are most often hired by medical centers or third party perfusion companies that offer a typically working schedule of 40 hours per week. The duties and job tasks will make a perfusionist present at his or her working facility sometimes also during the night, on weekends, and holidays.
Based on each program the responsibilities can be higher and more rigorous than in other settings. For instance, if you are working as a perfusionist in a larger facility that performs on average more open heart surgeries then you may work in shifts. Shifts are good to make sure that a perfusionist will be present there 24 hours a day.
The working environment of a perfusionist can also be found outside the clinical work in teaching in certification programs or even conduct research. You can also work in the industry of perfusion equipment manufacturers.
Pros and Cons of Being a Perfusionist
Working as a Perfusionist is not always easy, and the decisions that you have to make are major since it will affect the good functionality of your work and the work of others. This job can also be rewarding since you’ll get to help people but also work in a team that counts on you when it comes to doing your part.
Because of the aging population and the rate of heart diseases increasing and being more common there are many people that need an open heart surgery. This is implying that the job outlook is very good, and there is a high demand in the medical industry for perfusionists. Other settings in which a perfusionist can find work are in hospitals and private companies.
The schedule when it comes to this career can be very demanding and as a perfusionist you can be on call during the night. Another factor that can clearly be seen in this job and many situations will be estimated as a con is the factor of stress.
The responsibilities that will accompany this job are very high, and you truly need to know what you are doing and always provide the surgical team with accurate information. Your job tasks will assume a great understanding and knowledge of the respiratory and circulatory system of the patient as well as the ability to operate with complex equipment.
Perfusionist job growth
Even though there are not specific employment job growth for perfusionists, the employment job growth for all cardiac technologists is predicted at a 38% rate of increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is quicker than the average for all occupations. Due to the nature of the job itself and the important link that a perfusionist is in a surgery between the surgeon and its patient, the job opportunities for these healthcare professionals are great.
The job satisfaction that was reported is a good one, since there is a reward to see that you can help in saving the lives of people, and you are a vital asset as well for the medical surgery system. Almost all the time in a job of a perfusionist he or she will spend inside of an OR, or else known as the operating room. These specialists will also see that their responsibilities are also linked with the CIVICU, else known as the cardiovascular intensive care unit, as well as the catheterization laboratory. With other words perfusionists jobs and openings can be found in a plenty of settings.
The salary of a perfusionist in the United States depends on several and influential factors such as the facility in which one is working, the educational level that one of these professionals accomplished and the years of experience.
Like in any other salary in the US, there are lower and higher points when it comes to a perfusionist job. Those professionals that are placed in the 10 percent of upper annual salary will earn more than $130,194 per year. At the same time, those placed in the category of 10 percent lower income are estimated to earn less than $88,752 per year.
The income in US for a perfusionist is estimated to reach about $109,776 per year. Considering the type of work setting the salaries for perfusionists are as followed: those who found work in hospitals will earn a salary that ranges on average between $80,415 and $114,926 per year. Those professionals who are working with private companies will gain an income that is estimated between $77,036 and $101,789 per year.
Perfusionists are entitled to lots of benefits and those who are working on a full-time basis have in their annual income salary package included benefits such as short or long term disability, dental insurance as well as health insurance, paid vacations and holidays, a 401(k) and other.
The annual perfusionist salary for one of these professionals is estimated to reach at about $109,776 per year with an average hourly rate that is estimated at $52.79 per hour. The common annual salary is estimated to range between $70,206 and $125,407 per year. These salaries come with a yearly bonus that is granted of about $20,427 per year. In the end, the estimations that are being made with the bonus included will show that the salary for a perfusionist will range between $69,636 and $128,577 per year.
The years of experience also have a word to say those professionals with less than one years of practice will earn a wage that is budgeted between $68,786 and $97,564 per year. Perfusionists with one and up to four year of work will receive a salary that is estimated between $60,823 per year and $101,756 per year. Those who gathered more than 20 years of experience in this field will have a salary that is estimated between $88,038 and $143,547 per year.
Salary of a Perfusionist in 2015
The perfusionist salary in 2015 in the United States is influenced by the same major factors that dictate the economic flux. The job outlook when it comes to this career is starting to bloom more and more since the health industry is in high demand for professionals like this. The salary of a perfusionist is also influenced by the geographical location and by state.
The aging population that is suffering from heart diseases is increasing more and more, and the open heart surgeries are valued a lot so are the perfusionists.
Perfusionist Salary in 2016
The year 2016, brings forth for perfusionists in the US, great incomes, with average payments that usually encompass or reach six figures. The average median income is usually estimated at $102,298 per year, according to the PayScale, salary data information.
People working in this field can expect at a starting point in their salaries that gets around $78,082 per year and up to $140,840 per year. The bonuses that are granted can even reach up to $25,080 while the profit sharing is estimated at $7,912. In the end, the total payment that is achieved can go up to a starting point of $77,894 and $142,163.
The major factor that impacts this field is considered the career length, followed by the geographical location factor that is mainly influenced according to each state and region, but also according to the costs of living in that particular area and the living expenses that can be found. Other factors that contribute to the incomes of these professionals are the specific type of employment and industry as well as years of experience that are usually gained at the working site. The vast majority of those professionals that work as perfusionists are males rather than females.
When it comes to the years of the experience factor, those with less than five years in the field can presume to take home an average median payment that gets around $88,010 per year. Additionally, those with 5 and up to 10 years of practice and gained experience will enjoy an average median income of $102,010 per year.
Those who already are seen as experienced perfusionists, with 10 and up to 20 years of work experience can clearly expect to take home around $113,010 per year. At the same time, those in their late-career, also considered to be the veterans in this field, with more than 20 years of practice and plenty of experience will gain around $119,010 per year.
Perfusionist Salary in Canada, Australia and United Kingdom
- In Canada, for instance, the payroll of a perfusionist is mainly estimated according to the work experience, age, what level of qualification do you have and also according to the location. The HSU clinical perfusionist income in Canada are estimated to vary between $54,416 and $76,392 per year. In some areas, the amount is between $67,315 and $94,494 per year, and they will reach at $67,315 and $94,493 per year.
- In Australia, the perfusionist median salary is estimated to reach on average at about AU$88,552 per year. Those professionals that already gained experience in this field are entitled to receive a higher number of salary benefits.
- In the United Kingdom, the salary for a perfusionist is decided upon the location and the working sector. For instance, those working in the private sector as well as those working as part of the staff in the near surroundings of London will earn and receive higher salaries. The starting salary in the National Health Service or the NHS for a trainee perfusionist is estimated to reach about £20,010 per year. A department manager that already has gained a lot of experience in the field will earn a salary that is estimated between £50,010 and £70,010 per year. Those who are qualified perfusionist will earn an income that reaches at about £25,010 with the opportunity of increasing to £35,010. The experience that is attained in this field will lead a perfusionist in time to an income estimated at £40,010 per year.
Conclusion on Perfusionist Salary
The job opportunities are present as well offering a much higher stability since the number of demanding has increased a lot in the past several years.
According to many surveys, the average hourly wage is estimated between $38.05 and $57.8 per hour while the annual salary for perfusionists is estimated to range between $98,922 and $121,693 per year. In the US, the level f experience and the education that is gained in training programs are very important, and they will truly determine these professionals’ salaries.
- First Published Date: 30 April, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 27 November, 2016