Day in the Life: CVMT Edition

Our CVMT’s provide a wide range of services in multiple departments within hospitals. You’ll find CVMT’s in the OR, pre-op, post-op, interventional labs, ICU, and nerve block centers. They are experts in autotransfusion, and they assist with complex procedures like line placement, IABP, and nerve blocks. They work daily with anesthesia partners and other physicians, obtaining the equipment and products needed to ensure a smooth procedure for patients while assisting MD’s and partners during procedures. In honor of CVMT Appreciation Week 2022, we wanted to showcase an inside look into the lives of our highly skilled team members.

Highlight with Burleigh Biel, Tech, CVM Ld

Minneapolis-St Paul ATS Team

  1. What led you to become interested in being a CVMT and can you describe the path you took? I heard about the job from a family friend that works in the ICU at ANW and loved how clinical the job was since I was looking for something for a gap year(s) before applying to medical school.
  2. What are the combined total years of service for the team? 7 for me and probably close to 37 years for the team.
  3. What are the benefits of a career in CVMT? I have flexible hours and I get to experience different parts of medicine (i.e. surgery, Cath Lab, anesthesiology, ICU, ED, etc.).
  4. What is a day in the life of a CVMT typically like? This really depends on the time you start your shift. If you work in the morning, you will probably see yourself in 1-3 ORs for morning cases doing anything from assisting with nerve blocks, arterial lines, central lines, and swan-ganz catheter placement. After the morning rush of cases, a CVMT will periodically go in and out of different ORs for more line placements, as the cases go, or will give back the patient’s blood during an ATS case.
  5. What was a surprise to you about the career when you first started? I was surprised by how many people it takes to make a surgery successful. There are so many other people that need to properly do their job in order for a surgeon to have a successful surgery for the patient.
  6. What has been a memorable moment or story you’d like to share from your career? While doing Cell Saver for an APSF surgery, I was urgently called into the OR due to blood loss. This was not expected as our surgeons typically do not have very high blood loss during the anterior portion of the case. However, this time, they nicked a larger artery and we had massive blood loss in a very short period of time. Due to my experience, coworkers, and training, I was able to load my Cell Saver bowl and quickly return the patient’s blood back to them. This case still stands out to me because it was the perfect example of everything coming together and the CVMTs working as a team. Without them, I would have had to constantly run for additional supplies, and it could have delayed how long it took to return the patient’s much needed blood.

Highlight with Sidney Brunkow, Tech, CVM

Minneapolis-St Paul ATS Team

  1. Which teams do you currently support? I started with Minneapolis’ CVMT team and am currently part of Abbott-Northwestern’s and United St. Paul’s teams.
  2. What are the benefits of a career in CVMT? ​Being a CVMT exposed me to numerous medical careers and provided great insight as to how each position interacted with each other to form the medical field as a whole. As a CVMT, I discovered my own interest in Cardiovascular Perfusion, which was a career I had previously not known about. I think the greatest benefit is the diverse exposure to different careers and connections you can make with people in those positions to help guide you and answer any questions you may have about their field.
  3. What is a day in the life of a CVMT typically like? Most shifts start between 6 am and 7 am, so we can start preparing invasive cardiovascular monitoring lines and setting up Cell Savers for various surgeries; this is typically the busiest part of our day. As the day continues, we monitor and report Estimated Blood Loss for each of our Cell Savers to the surgical and anesthesia teams. As the surgical schedule progresses throughout the day, we help prepare and place more invasive lines with the anesthesiologists. We also help with Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump and Impella placement in the operating rooms or Cath Lab.
  4. What was a surprise to you about the career when you first started? Occasionally, we set up Intracranial Pressure transducers and help ICU attendings place bedside Swan-Ganz catheters. There is a wide variety of services that we provide which makes every day different and requires us to be knowledgeable about each.
  5. What advice do you have for working in a team dynamic? Successful team communication needs to be clear and efficient. This requires each team member to be knowledgeable about each service to process the communicated information effectively.
  6. What has been a memorable moment or story you’d like to share from your career?  Being a CVMT exposed me to Cardiovascular Perfusion which I have decided to pursue in the future and hopefully matriculate in fall 2023. Without this position, I would never have discovered this future career.

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