"Some perfusion schools just do academic work. Not here. We start off observing in the OR and doing academic work. Then we start doing the perfusion work. It's intense, but someone's always watching you. They won't let you do anything wrong. They don't expect you to know everything. You're supposed to ask questions." —T. Patel
Simulation for initial skills development
Students enrolled in the SUNY perfusion school receive intensive simulation training to prepare them for success in their clinical rotations. Each class of students rotates through 650 hours of simulation modules over the first 2 1/2 semesters. Starting with low fidelity simulation exercises in sterile techniques, component selection and circuit design, assembly and priming, the student quickly progress to the high fidelity simulator where they will learn by doing.
In the first semester, each student practices individual skills including initiation of CPB , cardioplegia delivery and weaning from CPB dozens of times and slowly stitches these skills together until they are performing a complete CPB procedure. Over the course of the second semester students continue to develop and refine their skills while performing 3040 complete simulated surgical procedures including CABG's, Valves and an aortic root replacements with circulatory arrest. The student focused environment of the simulator room and the unprecedented autonomy afforded the student combine to create a learning environment that is better than the real operating room. The third semester bring the challenges of intensive crisis management training and the students first out of town clinical rotation. Through simulation and clinical observations the students develop a very competitive understanding of the duties of a perfusionist and are competent with the major skills of a perfusionist before they begin to practice their skills in the operating room.