David Atkinson, BSc (Biomedical Sci) 2009

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

David Atkinson, BSc (Biomedical Sci) 2009

Discovering Cardiovascular Perfusion

When accepted to Brock University for Biology, I was also asked if I would be interested in a program called Biomedical Science. As a high school graduate I was uncertain regarding my career path. Thus, upon recommendation from my advisor, I began my journey in the Biomedical Science program. While working hard on my major, I also had the opportunity to enjoy an extracurricular program called Med Plus. During my first year at Brock, I attended one of the networking meetings that Med Plus exposes you to and I had the opportunity to hear briefly about an uncommon program that was advertised.

As I continued at Brock with my classes, labs, late hours of studying, exams, and extra curricular activities, the time seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, I was almost at the end of my third year contemplating which professor and what topic to choose for my thesis. Before I knew it I was in the summer of my fourth year and the anxiety over what profession I wanted to commit to had elevated to a new level. It was through Med Plus meetings I had attended and a great amount of research that I was led to my adrenaline rich career in the operating room environment as a Cardiovascular Perfusionist.

When looking at the requirements to be a Cardiovascular Perfusionist, I was delighted that with a few additional classes, Biomedical Science had paved the way to meet all of the requirements I needed in beginning on this career path. I spent time observing a heart surgery case to make sure I was a good fit for this field and to fulfill the final requirement prior to applying to such a program. I ventured to South Carolina to observe a heart surgery case (I chose to go this far because as a 21st birthday gift to myself I would be stopping at North Carolina for a NASCAR race), in order to complete my final observation criteria.

Once applications had been sent to Syracuse, South Carolina, Toronto, and Miami, the waiting game would begin. Before I knew, it I was on the beach of Miami looking forward to starting Cardiovascular Perfusion at Barry University of Miami Shores. With successful completion of the didactic portion of the program and a few cocktails on the beach, I was given the opportunity to complete my clinical training at the University medical centre of Loma Linda California. I am currently in my last month of training at Loma Linda University Medical Center learning how to successfully operate the extracorporeal circulation equipment which is used during any medical procedure in which it is necessary to artificially support or temporarily replace a patient's circulatory or respiratory functions, such as in open heart surgery, liver surgery, heart transplants, and other heart procedures.

Perfusionists routinely administer various types of blood products, medications and control the temperature of patients during surgery to ensure adequate blood perfusion to organs when the heart is arrested for operation.
Brock University and the Med Plus program provided me with a strong scholastic foundation and the opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills.

What I have taken with me from my University experience has made me more marketable and an asset to any team.

Favorite quote:
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen."
— Michael Jordan


David Atkinson at work as a Cardiovascular Perfusionist
David Atkinson, BSc (Biomedical Sci) 2009