I had my first patient on ECMO this past week. A very intense experience but one that was made much easier because a perfusionist was at the bedside 24/7. I knew next to nothing about ECMO, other than what is was being used for. I had a "crash course" for 10 minutes from our unit educator before taking over this very sick patient 45 minutes out of OR. I had a "helper" nurse who also was invaluable to run labs, help with IV's, and checking/hanging blood.
Now it seems I'm a seasoned veteran after two shifts of caring for this patient. I have been "asked" to attend a seminar so that I can run the ECMO myself. At first, I was a bit flattered then really got to thinking about it. Do I really want this responsibility? Do I really want to be on call 24/7 in case an ECMO case rolls through the door? Do I really want to save my department $$$ by doing this and getting no compensation for it myself?
I'm thinking NO!
I have heard that it is commonplace for RN's to run ECMO on adult patients. I just don't believe it. I think that is a perfusionist pervue and don't want the job, thank you very much.
What say you?