Perfusion Notes: [4]

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A STUDENT DIARY

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Introduction to My Program…

I have moved to my new location and was lucky enough to get along with another candidate at the interview process that also got in to the program.  So we moved in and started exploring our new surrounding about a week before school started and there hasn’t been much moving anxiety.

This was my first week of the program.  I have to say I was very impressed with what I am told my program will be.  This was an orientation week and didn’t get into the OR or have any lectures.  We mainly just did the normal paperwork, going over program set up, obtained ID’s, pagers and whatnot.

We did however already attend an in-service for the Heartmate II and will have another in-service this next week for another piece of equipment.  I know that some programs do not have the chances for these experiences and I feel that they will prepare us for the actual profession.

The main thing that I like about this program is the feeling that I am treated like a staff member.  While I am not expected to have the competency level of a CCP, LCP; I am expected to take call, go above and beyond and be involved in bettering the program.  The opportunities that my program has are incredible with the ability of interacting with CT residents and cardiac anesthesia residents on a regular basis.

We have the chance to lecture both residents as well as be lectured by both groups of residents.  I think this will be a great opportunity to educate ourselves above the normal expectations.  The resources of knowledge that our director has obtained are just amazing and limitless.  At the same time our director is still making improvements every day and trying to obtain even more resources each day.

The other big thing that I like about the program is our director wants us to run it as much as possible.  He also expects us to progress at a rapid rate and become self-reliant on ourselves quickly.  He has designed the program for the students to be able to lecture the residents, create our own call schedule, complete as many cases as we want (overall goal being 150 MINIMUM), work on our website, better the interview process and the list goes on and on.

I like how we are expected to start doing all this stuff as soon as we got here as well.  He is planning on graduating leaders and not followers.

Since I was a perfusion assistant for so long, I am really excited to finally be working on the next step of becoming a perfusionist and learning the ins and outs of the profession.  I am pretty pumped up about my program and about finally getting to start my education and training.

I will write another entry in a   couple after I have been in the OR and have a few lectures under my belt.  Also if anyone has questions or wants to know more about certain aspects of what I discuss please comment on the entry and I will do my best to answer them.

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Why We Do This [11] The Real Lives That LVADER’S Live…

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Dancing LVAD

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Editor’s Note:

In a continuation of the theme- that at times we question why we do some of the operations we do- or give the effort we give, I offer the suggestion that people are indeed far more resilient then we give them credit for, and that our constant exposure to the sickest of the sick, has put at risk what got us into the profession in the first place: hope and optimism.

Everyone of us has compassion and a drive that pushes us to believe we make a difference.  It is that will that keeps us working as perfusionists- NOT the paycheck.

As I write this, I am speaking as much to myself as anyone else.  I was once the “This is a life- and let’s pull out all stops to keep it going!” kind of guy.  From the Navy on up. It was- NEVER GIVE UP !

But I have seen us give in.  There is less drama losing a patient 30 years later, than as a young colt with an ER stethoscope hanging around my neck.  And by ‘giving up” I don’t mean a callous dismissal of the life in front of us- rather an accumulation of similar pathways we have all been down, that seem to end at the same ladder to heaven.  

At some institutions few VAD’s survive.  I have been at 30 (hospitals as a perfusionist) – and the numbers aren’t comforting.  But what is comforting is how much technology has shifted and enhanced the survival curve.

An example of how misguided our perceptions may be, was posted on a FB page by my good friend Joshua Morris (who has had HeartMate in for the last 5 years.  A testament to the team that operated on this gentleman- AND NEVER GAVE UP.

In all honesty it’s pretty simple really:  People with VAD’s have lives too- and enjoy living- probably a lot more than the un-afflicted who take Life’s precious days for granted.

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