Physical therapy or Cardiac Perfusion

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by bear3go, Feb 17, 2012.

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  1. bear3go

    bear3go New Member

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    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. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor 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.
     
  3. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    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. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

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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. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    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. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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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. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    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.
     
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet 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. :soapbox:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2012
  9. bear3go

    bear3go New Member

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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.
     
  10. bear3go

    bear3go New Member

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    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.
     
  11. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

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    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?
     
  12. bear3go

    bear3go New Member

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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.
     
  13. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

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    Sorry. By "Distance Learning" I was referring to online courses (the main focus of this forum).
     
  14. bear3go

    bear3go New Member

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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
     
  15. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    When do you start the program? I'd be interested in reading updates as you progress. Seems like an interesting field.
     
  16. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

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    I just now read this. Good one, Kiz.
     
  17. soupbone

    soupbone New Member

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    Bumping this thread for any updates on how you're doing in the program. I've been strongly considering how I could transition from public health into a PT program, but I'm not sure what the pre-req list would be. I keep thinking (like I posted in a previous post in this thread) that I regret not going this route early on in my academic career.
     
  18. perfusionist

    perfusionist New Member

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    From a Real Perfusionist

    The posts I've read on here are completely off. I'm so distressed that people are using this to make decisions affecting their whole life. PT is way better, PA is even better. Don't become a perfusionist. You may not ever work. Jobs in perfusion are scarce. I'm facing the prospect of losing my license next year. Caseloads have shrunk dramatically over the last 10 years from over-stenting. Part time jobs, which I've never seen before, seem to be normal now. I know four perfusionists in my area out of work. And there's twice as many perfusionists now, serving half the number of cases, we've seen our salaries shrink, and the growth of outsourcing companies, which have cheapened the profession to something little more than Sodexho housekeeping. Very experienced perfusionsits are getting ridiculously low offers. We used to make more than nurse anesthetists, and were treated incredibly great. I worked one place that had catered food for us. Now, it's mop the floors and take out the garbage for half.

    I'm a perfusionist ABCP-CCP with over 10 years experience, from a great school, fully licensed....and haven't been able to find a job in a YEAR. I will say I have been offered three jobs, but I've been picky. So jobs are available, but very crummy ones. And the job search is very difficult. I've never encountered such an arrogant HR force in general. Lots of people are looking for work, and it's not like the old days in perfusion, where jobs were not plentiful, but not impossible to find. I have been made some terrible offers which I've declined, like taking call for nothing, and getting 1 or 2 cases a month. Newly graduated students are exploited because they are desperate for cases. I've been offered part time work, for 1/2 normal pay, $80,000 in expensive markets. A lot of people would say "but that's a lot of money". Perfusionists were starting @80k 20 years ago, now experienced people are being offered that. I would NEVER become a perfusionist in this market. The average perfusionist is making 80-100k. Dont ever expect to make higher than this....IF you can find a job. When I was fresh in perfusion, the job market ws tight. I never had more than a 15 minute interview. Now, interview are 3 1-hour sessions, with open ended questions, followed by standardized tests etc. Then you get an in-person interview. You'll be asked to pay your own way. I never do that. It is virtually impossible to get a job where you want to. Plan on living not one, but several states or even across the United States. I can't even seem to find a job in my own region. I'm not bitter or hard up, I could have taken a low pay job in my region, but I'd much rather choose my own hours, and location...as a PT. Waaaay too much disinformation about perfusion being put out there by program directors, because there jobs depend on a new crop of students coming every year. Go in Indeed.com and register as an employer. Then look at the 150 resumes of perfusionists with Masters degrees. looking for work. Then look there's maybe 150 jobs in the US, but most of them are filled, or part time. There's maybe 30 jobs. And a new crop of 80 students every year. Do the math. Do your homework. And those who don't know perfusion except for one person, don't post about a profession you know nothing about.
     
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Hi sunshine, thanks for signing up.
     
  20. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

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    Best. Post. Ever.
     

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