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  1. #1
    bear3go is offline Registered User
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    Physical therapy or Cardiac Perfusion

    I'm now faced with a decision that I feel lucky enough to make, but I was wanting some input of what others think.


    I have been accepted to a few doctor of physical therapy programs and a cardiac perfusion program. Now I need to decide which will be a better career path. I feel I would enjoy both as a career.

    any input on my decision would be greatly appreciated..

    Thank you

  2. #2
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    I can offer no help in deciding between those two pursuits, but I can tell you that careers in either should offer some amount of job stability and growth. Just out of interest, I would personally be more inclined toward being a cardiac perfusionist and working in an operating room. Seems fascinating to me setting up and operating breathing machines. You would be on the same par with an anesthesiologist; a well-respected field to enter. I would think either would be a tough subject to earn a doctorate in, but I have a feeling that you have what it takes. Median salary is roughly $110K, not bad.
    "If ignorance is bliss, why are the ignorant so angry?" Shannon Wheeler

  3. #3
    soupbone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfDoctor View Post
    I can offer no help in deciding between those two pursuits, but I can tell you that careers in either should offer some amount of job stability and growth. Just out of interest, I would personally be more inclined toward being a cardiac perfusionist and working in an operating room. Seems fascinating to me setting up and operating breathing machines. You would be on the same par with an anesthesiologist; a well-respected field to enter. I would think either would be a tough subject to earn a doctorate in, but I have a feeling that you have what it takes. Median salary is roughly $110K, not bad.

    Many days I kick myself for now going the PT route in my early years of school. Your opinion seems well grounded too, and I agree that while I have little knowledge about the field of cardiac perfusion, it looks very interesting. My personal opinion would be to go the PT route if you are considering owning your own business. It just seems like the easiest one out of the two to transition into.

  4. #4
    GeeBee is offline Registered User
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    I have a friend who is married to a cardiac perfusionist. They recently relocated very suddenly, because a position opened up at a hospital near her original hometown. A perfusionist can always find a job, but can't always find a job in a particular geographic area. There are only one or two positions per hospital, so you have to be flexible about where you live. If you want to live in a particular place, when a spot opens up you have to go for it immediately.

    I think the PT has more flexibility as far as choosing where to work.

  5. #5
    Randell1234 is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfDoctor View Post
    You would be on the same par with an anesthesiologist.
    No way - an anesthesiologist is a doctor and many times a perfustionist is called a "pump tech".


    They are two completely different work environments. The physical therapist works in the exercise room helping which stretches and range of motion, walks patients down the hall for exercise and evaluation, as well as several other locations but is typically in a open environment. I have worked with physical therapists at hospitals as well as physical therapists at special-needs schools that work with handicap children. I also know physical therapists to do home health and are able to make their own schedule for the most part.

    When I worked in a hospital repair medical equipment I was part of the team that helped start the open-heart program. I got to know the perfusion is quite well. Some of their chief complaints with a working hours. The majority of the time you are working during normal business hours because that's what most open-heart procedures are scheduled but there often emergency cases in the evening another weekend. There is not a set time that a procedure may take because the patient may come off the pump but need to be put back on. Also remember that the physical environments for different because the perfusionist sits in front of the machine in the OR for a good portion of the day.

    From what I've seen their schedule something like this: the case is scheduled and they show up and typically sit around in the doctor's lounge is a patients rated on pump. Patient was on pump and the perfusionist is in the room entire time, when a patient comes off pump the perfusionist stays around to assure you have to go back on it totally really suck to close a case. At that time the perfusionist goes back to the lounge or is done today.

    When comparing the two professions I would assume that there is a greater need or opportunity for physical therapist compared to who perfusionist. Also I worked in was a 300 bed hospital with two open-heart rooms and they had three contractor perfusionist and about a dozen physical therapists .

  6. #6
    soupbone is offline Registered User
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    If you are looking at it from a monetary standpoint (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):


    National estimates for this occupation: Top
    Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation:

    Physical Therapy

    Mean hourly wage Mean annual wage
    $37.50 $77,990

    Percentile wage estimates for this occupation:

    Percentile 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
    Hourly Wage $25.78 $30.88 $36.69 $43.44 $51.89
    Annual Wage (2) $53,620 $64,230 $76,310 $90,350 $107,920


    Cardiopulmonary Perfusionist

    "According to the American Society of Extra-Corporeal Technology, there are about 3,700 perfusionists currently employed in the United States. Holt estimates that starting salaries for perfusionists are about $58,000 to $61,000 per year and that earnings for those with 10 years of experience range from $85,000 to $100,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on perfusionists’ employment numbers or earnings."

    You're a What? Perfusionist - OOQ Online, Winter 2002-03

  7. #7
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randell1234 View Post
    No way - an anesthesiologist is a doctor and many times a perfustionist is called a "pump tech".


    They are two completely different work environments. The physical therapist works in the exercise room helping which stretches and range of motion, walks patients down the hall for exercise and evaluation, as well as several other locations but is typically in a open environment. I have worked with physical therapists at hospitals as well as physical therapists at special-needs schools that work with handicap children. I also know physical therapists to do home health and are able to make their own schedule for the most part.

    When I worked in a hospital repair medical equipment I was part of the team that helped start the open-heart program. I got to know the perfusion is quite well. Some of their chief complaints with a working hours. The majority of the time you are working during normal business hours because that's what most open-heart procedures are scheduled but there often emergency cases in the evening another weekend. There is not a set time that a procedure may take because the patient may come off the pump but need to be put back on. Also remember that the physical environments for different because the perfusionist sits in front of the machine in the OR for a good portion of the day.

    From what I've seen their schedule something like this: the case is scheduled and they show up and typically sit around in the doctor's lounge is a patients rated on pump. Patient was on pump and the perfusionist is in the room entire time, when a patient comes off pump the perfusionist stays around to assure you have to go back on it totally really suck to close a case. At that time the perfusionist goes back to the lounge or is done today.

    When comparing the two professions I would assume that there is a greater need or opportunity for physical therapist compared to who perfusionist. Also I worked in was a 300 bed hospital with two open-heart rooms and they had three contractor perfusionist and about a dozen physical therapists.
    Very informative, thank you. I knew almost nothing about this field and now I know a little more. I still think being a perfusionist would be an interesting job and the pay statistics are pretty good. Being a physical therapist , and hurting people to help them, doesn't seem like it would be a pleasant occupation. But, once again, I know very little about it.
    "If ignorance is bliss, why are the ignorant so angry?" Shannon Wheeler

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  9. #8
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    I was walking through one of those big foo-foo department stores when some barbie doll at the cosmetics counter tried to spray me with some cardiac perfusion. I almost had to punt that girl to keep her away from me with that stuff.
    Last edited by SurfDoctor; 04-22-2012 at 12:41 PM. Reason: wrong button
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  10. #9
    bear3go is offline Registered User
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    Thanks all for the input. I still gave not come to a decision, but I will let you know when I do.

  11. #10
    bear3go is offline Registered User
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    Smile

    Cardiac Perfusion it is.

    I have been set on PT since highschool, but one time in the OR and I'm hooked. The other thing is there aren't many PT's over the age of fifty. This leads me to think that most PT's get burnt out. The other reason I chose Perfusion is because I analyzed my personality traits, and came out with perfusion being a better fit for me. I'm somewhat of an introvert, It's not that I have a problem being around a lot of people, I just get very worn out by it. This leads me to believe that I will be happier in the OR for the length of my career. I really appreciate all the input from you guys. Hopefully this thread will help some one down the road with the same decision.

  12. #11
    japhy4529 is offline House Bassist
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear3go View Post
    Cardiac Perfusion it is.

    I have been set on PT since highschool, but one time in the OR and I'm hooked. The other thing is there aren't many PT's over the age of fifty. This leads me to think that most PT's get burnt out. The other reason I chose Perfusion is because I analyzed my personality traits, and came out with perfusion being a better fit for me. I'm somewhat of an introvert, It's not that I have a problem being around a lot of people, I just get very worn out by it. This leads me to believe that I will be happier in the OR for the length of my career. I really appreciate all the input from you guys. Hopefully this thread will help some one down the road with the same decision.
    Sounds like you made the right decision, given your level of introversion and how much you enjoyed the OR. Best of luck and keep us posted on your progress. Is there a distance learning component to the Cardiac Perfusion program?
    Tom
    B.S., Behavioral Science - Bellevue University 2010
    A.S., Liberal Studies - Excelsior College 2009

  13. #12
    bear3go is offline Registered User
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    yes, in the last semester there are two 8 wk clinical rotations that will be out of state. I'm looking forward to these as I havent been to too many different places in the Country.

  14. #13
    japhy4529 is offline House Bassist
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear3go View Post
    yes, in the last semester there are two 8 wk clinical rotations that will be out of state. I'm looking forward to these as I havent been to too many different places in the Country.
    Sorry. By "Distance Learning" I was referring to online courses (the main focus of this forum).
    Tom
    B.S., Behavioral Science - Bellevue University 2010
    A.S., Liberal Studies - Excelsior College 2009

  15. #14
    bear3go is offline Registered User
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    Sorry, no there isnt any distance learning in my curriculum. It's all classes at the medical university of south Carolina other than the clinical rotations

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  17. #15
    soupbone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear3go View Post
    Sorry, no there isnt any distance learning in my curriculum. It's all classes at the medical university of south Carolina other than the clinical rotations
    When do you start the program? I'd be interested in reading updates as you progress. Seems like an interesting field.

  18. #16
    SurfDoctor is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    I was walking through one of those big foo-foo department stores when some barbie doll at the cosmetics counter tried to spray me with some cardiac perfusion. I almost had to punt that girl to keep her away from me with that stuff.
    I just now read this. Good one, Kiz.
    "If ignorance is bliss, why are the ignorant so angry?" Shannon Wheeler

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