LPM: A Student’s Perspective- Exams

“I wanted to get everything right, despite my nerves sometimes getting the best of me. What I hadn’t realized was that the whole year of practice had prepared me well.”

Kora 2

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Editor’s Note:

This is a continuation of a new series with our newest associate editor, Shayla Johnson, who is currently enrolled in a perfusion program.  I am impressed that as a perfusion student she has the initiative to share her thoughts and impressions with us regarding the process of learning the art of perfusion technology from her own unique perspective:

“I am a first year perfusion student.I follow your facebook and website to stay updated on perfusion news from all around the world, and I love it. I saw the posting about needing bloggers and wanted to find out if you were interested in a student blogger. Either way, thank you for the work put into the website, it was valuable as I prepared to apply for my program as well as throughout it.

Thank you.”

Shayla Johnson

The name of the series will be as above- LPM: A Student’s Perspective.  There is a slight play on the acronym as the L stands for Learning as opposed to a metric for Q.

As we all know- regardless of experience level- we all learn minute by minute.

Enjoy 🙂


Click here to view the entire LPM series

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Shayla Johnson

Shayla Johnson, Associate Editor




After a year of didactic learning, which somehow flew by, the dates for our final exams crept up quickly. One of the most stressful parts of school is examinations, particularly the comprehensive ones that are necessary prior to leaving for rotations. In my program, we first had our practical exam which was surprisingly not as bad as I had assumed it would be. Having a timer on setting up the pump and priming had initially caused panic to set in. What if I couldn’t do it in time? What if I forgot something?

The hardest thing about all practical exams is that there is no rigid structure, no answer right in front of you, and sometimes you need to trouble shoot on the spot – sounds a lot like perfusion in general! In theory, it sounded like the most terrifying exam of my life. I wanted to get everything right, despite my nerves sometimes getting the best of me. What I hadn’t realized was that the whole year of practice had prepared me well. The extra time I thought I’d needed in the lab was helpful, but it was nothing compared to the total number of times I’d set up the pump before. I’d heard the advice from other’s who had gone through this before but I have to say they were right about being more prepared than I’d ever realized.

Our next exam was a comprehensive exam on everything we’d ever covered. One thing about graduate school, particularly perfusion, is that everything is important. Unlike in undergrad, where you learned material for a test and that was it, you can’t forget the things you learn during the didactic year. I knew going into my last quarter that I’d need to make sure to review material that had been covered nearly a year ago, and reviewing of some topics was surprisingly easily, while other topics remained more of a challenge (acid-base of course!).

While taking a comprehensive exam over everything was hard, it was also a good way to ensure we’d retained the information covered during our first year of school. I hope that it serves as a good practice for when we take the board exams since the same expectation will exist. Now that I’ve made it through on the other side of didactic work, I’m able to see that I knew much more and had learned more than I’d ever thought I would. Exams week is hard, it is nerve-wracking, and at times sleep-less, but you can make it through and feel even more confident that you are ready to tackle the next big challenge; clinical rotations.

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