Is Perfusion a “Dead Language” ?

Editor’s Note:

I got this letter from a soon-to-be-enrolled perfusion student.

He has legitimate concerns and asks for feedback from perfusionists currently in the field.

Help him out ?

Hello Frank,

First and foremost I wanted to let you know that I have been a huge fan of your site since I discovered it about 6 months ago. I find your site the most satisfying at night when I read through new stories and informative bits while laying in bed, an “adult bedtime story”, if you will. Before I get into the sole purpose of my letter, I would like to give you a brief introduction of myself.

I went to school at Arizona State University (B.S. Biology) and  worked as a Bartender at P.F. Chang’s. In school, my goal was to become a healthcare professional of some sort, but couldn’t quite put my finger on which avenue I would pursue. One night a couple came into the restaurant and starting talking to me over some drinks about my aspirations in healthcare.

After a great conversation, I had learned that the couple were healthcare professionals themselves. One an Anesthesiologist for a cardiac team and the other a Nurse Practitioner specializing in cardiology. They insisted that I come shadow them to see if anything would catch my eye. That is when I met the chief perfusionist and the rest was history.

Immediately  I was drawn to the profession and starting following the perfusionist on a regular basis. I then applied to Midwestern University’s perfusion program and was accepted. I start class at the end of August (2012).

Since my acceptance, I have been exploring all opportunities that the perfusion occupation has to offer. I have found it both exciting and intriguing.

However, lately I have stumbled upon some discouraging information from doctors, students and journal articles. I wanted to express my concern to people like you and others on circuit surfers, so that hopefully I can get some good insight and feedback from people who live the dream I hope to one day soon, share. The dream that I will be a part of a specialized realm in which the primary objective is to hold one’s life literally at my fingertips and that my sole responsibility will be to care for this patient as if it were me lying on the operating table.

I have heard that the amount of CABG and other invasive procedures have declined in the last 5 years as much as 40% in some cities. Furthermore,  the use of extracorpreal technology is diminishing proportionately. It seems that practice is shifting toward percutaneous coronary intervention and other non-invasive procedures.

I don’t want to go to P.A. school, I want to be a “Circuit Surfer”!

My obvious concern here is that there will not be enough work for new graduates, leaving us with tremendous debts to repay. Other healthcare professionals have warned me to not get into the field for this very reason and have tried to steer me in another direction, such as P.A. school.

I don’t want to go to P.A. school, I want to be a “Circuit Surfer”! I was wondering if I could please have an honest opinion from people who are much wiser than I am in the field. I would like strong advice from everyone before I invest my every bit of existence into what seems to be a wonderful and rewarding career. Thank you to all for your time and consideration!!!

-Ryan Dysart

P.S. please feel free to share this on circuit surfers, I am not sure how to post but I would be glad to contribute many more posts to your site in the future. I have also attached some cool pictures for your site, one of them is a mini circuit I was able to observe during one of my shadowing experiences 🙂