From CCP to MD: It’s in all of us!

Perfusion isn’t something you “do”, it’s a part of you; it partly defines you. How do I cope? I work on my time off…

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“Frank, I promise I’ve got some articles for you and surfers”. Yes, I’ve been saying that since, what?  April/May? Well, trying to master the rest of the human body basics doesn’t happen in 30 days. So, here goes.”

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Editor’s Note:

Nadia  has been a perfusionist for quite some time, and is a very active contributor here at Circuit Surfers.

I am proud to have her on our editorial board.

She is very talented, precise, and obviously committed to delivering extraordinary care to her patients.  She has had a large hand in helping develop the direction of “Surfers, and her contributions (both photographic & essays) have gone a long way to making this online blog respectable yet original.

She is now engaged in her third year of medical school- something EVERY ONE of us has at one time contemplated.  So here is her story– something I really have to admire and share- as it is clearly about commitment to a different and perhaps a greater personal purpose- for something that sustains her soul.

I can tell you this much…  If I met a doctor, and they told me that their previous career was as a perfusionist- well that would crystallize my reaction to them in terms of trust and work ethic.  It speaks volumes, and invites complete trust in their ability.

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Much of her work was displayed at the recent CREF 2014 perfusion conference in San Diego, CA.

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From CCP to MD: It’s in all of us!

By Nadia Azuero, CCP

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The DOCumentary (no pun intended). 

So, how did it start?

Well, initially perfusion was a means to an end. To lead the path to pursue becoming a physician. But it took 10 years. 10 of the best years. That’s about a third of the average perfusion career.

But ok, so it took me awhile to make the decision to go to medical school. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “Are you crazy?” believe me, I’d be paying my own way instead of on loans.

 

So, why?

You may be wondering. Well, honestly, it kept calling me. Especially when I started to do locums, the more becoming a physician kept beeping at me, like a level sensor on a difficult MVR. So, I made a decision to fish or cut bait. And, thankfully, I don’t regret it one bit.

At first, of course, I had “buyers remorse”.

Was I making the right decision;

would I be seen as a traitor in the perfusion community;

would I miss perfusion;

could I cut it as a doctor despite the fact I hadn’t been in school for so long.

All normal reactions from what I’ve studied.

But like everything else in life, all it takes is time. Now 2 years in, I don’t regret my decision. Despite all the obstacles both academically and physically on top of being a foreign medical student. It’s fascinating and exhilarating to study everything about the human body and disease mechanisms.

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But do I miss perfusion?

Every.

Single.

Day. 

Perfusion isn’t something you “do”, it’s a part of you; it partly defines you.

How do I cope? I work on my time off. Crazy, probably but the times I did locums felt like a little vacation. It was familiar & comfortable. Felt like I was my old self again. Perfusion will always be a part of me and I plan to always be a part of it. My absence from it is nonexistent, it’s a sabbatical of sorts.

Would I recommend another Perfusionist to study medicine if that’s what they wanted?

Well…….I definitely wouldn’t give the advice that was given to me. That is doesn’t matter where you graduate from as long as you have your MD. As a future FMG (foreign medical graduate) or IMG (international medical graduate), to come back to practice in the states, it may not matter where you get your degree, but what matters is where that degree places you in regards to your clinical rotations? Similar to perfusion.

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Any hands-on practice requires a good, solid experience, especially to be competitive. Just like in perfusion, the student with the most exposure, number of cases with complexities gets a really desired job, so does the medical student with most deliveries, patient interactions, and all around exposure land the residency of their dreams that will make their career. Honestly, all around its competitive.

I wouldn’t steer someone from saving some money and going abroad to study medicine, but I would say to investigate that school on the clinical end. With a huge magnifying glass. Be sure that their clinical relationships are solid and long standing. There’s a lot of illusions out there. Everyone wants your money so I’d say choose wisely.

No matter what country, if anyone says “you have the option of staying here for all your clinicals”, be wary if your intentions of coming to the U.S. At the end training ground, in medicine, carries weight in the states. If your future is here, you need to be trained here. But I wouldn’t steer anyone from pursuing their dreams.

I will say, you have to want it. REALLY bad. It’s a lot of work, very demanding and sacrificial. It tests you at your best and your worst and at your weakest. You really have to be “ok” with the thought of putting yourself first and yet last.

Deadlines, 

exams,

patients,

late nights,

NO sleep? 

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Can you do this ?

Sure when you can. And these are just words. These words change for every individual. The emotions are indescribable. It’s a different path for everyone. So, you really don’t know what to expect until you walk it yourself. It’s a very personal and long journey. I’d say, get some comfortable shoes.

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CCP to MD:

I’m proud to be a Perfusionist and proud to be on the path of becoming a physician, and honored to be both. I hope to contribute to medicine at least what I contributed to perfusion. As well as contribute to perfusion what I will learn and discover in medicine.

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Conclusion:

If you want to be an MD, don’t hesitate or wait. Follow what your greater omentum  covers, no matter what other people say.

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