Skip to main content

Perfusion students win international skills competition

May. 15, 2014, 10:16 AM

Three first-year students in the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program, one of the Allied Health programs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, demonstrated their depth of knowledge in their field by winning the second annual Perfusion Bowl, held at the 52nd International Conference of the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology in San Diego.

“Not only was it an incredible experience to meet perfusionists from all over the world, but it was a wonderful thrill to represent Vanderbilt in such a positive way,” said Shane Buel, a student in the Perfusion Program and member of the winning team.

“It was certainly one of the more memorable experiences I’ve had in the program.”

The Cardiovascular Perfusion Program at VUMC consists of a 22-month curriculum, including academics and clinical practice, geared toward educating students on the physiology, pathology and associated equipment used to support, and potentially assume, the function of the heart and lungs during surgeries and other medical procedures. Perfusionists operate the heart and lung machines as well as measure various parameters to identify appropriate mechanical, pharmacological and thermal manipulation.

Buel and his teammates, Alex Bennatan and Kathy Kopec, faced eight teams representing six of the 16 perfusion programs in the country.

VUMC fielded two teams — one comprised of first-year students in the program and one of second-year students. Both teams battled their way to the semi-final round, where the younger team ultimately prevailed.

In the final round, the junior team faced tough competition against the team from Medical University of South Carolina, says Buel.

In the “Jeopardy”-style game, students were tested on their knowledge in six categories, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and cardiac surgery.

“The final round was such a fun experience,” said Kopec. “Finals were held on the main stage in front of the 300 conference attendees, but instead of being intimidated, I think we all found it incentivizing. This was our opportunity to show what an excellent perfusion program we have at Vanderbilt.”

Recent Stories from VUMC News and Communications Publications

Vanderbilt Medicine
VUMC Voice