ECMO therapy has increased significantly over the past two decades. Nearly half the ECMO cases recorded in the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ESLO) live registry have occurred in the last five years. Since 1990, the number of ECMO centers has increased by 671%. And, the use of VA-ECMO increased 23-fold between 2002 and 2018.
As ECMO therapy increases, the ability to handle increased volume and a greater variety of cases is critical for hospitals and medical centers. The demand for well-trained ECMO Specialists will continue to grow, and ECMO training can provide more revenue and career opportunities for medical professionals, especially nurses, respiratory therapists, and perfusionists.
3 Key Benefits of ECMO Training
ECMO training offers three distinct benefits:
- Patient care capability. ECMO training allows you to offer a higher level of patient care, especially for patients who are critically ill. The skills you already have are enhanced by the ability to administer ECMO treatment. For example, when it comes to nursing, “[T]he advantage of the ECMO specialist with a nursing background is their ability to provide 24-hour care managing all aspects of patients’ needs, including administration of medication, and to have the technical skills and knowledge to safely manage the ECMO circuit with perfusion backup for the more complicated aspects of circuit management.”
- Career advancement. Having an ECMO skill set provides you with more opportunities and challenges. For example, respiratory therapists who are used to managing ventilators can now administer potentially life-saving ECMO therapy. These special skills may be required in a number of contexts and include a range of variables. Knowledge of ECMO can open doors for those who want to invest in a specialty, increase their connections, and work at a growing number of organizations that need professionals trained in ECMO.
- Salary. Though it varies by state, the average salary for an ECMO specialist in the US is $97,525 per year, making a lucrative and in-demand career as ECMO usage continues to rise.
The Process of Becoming an ECMO Specialist
The process of becoming an ECMO specialist begins with didactic learning, which can take place online or in person. The second step is to participate in a hands-on wet-lab to become familiar with the typical ECMO pumps and equipment, as well as troubleshooting procedures associated with ECMO emergencies. The third step is to be oriented at bedside with an experienced ECMO Specialist and accumulate clinical hours through your institution.
To be eligible for the ECMO certification exam, the American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology (AmSECT) and the International Board of Blood Management (IBBM) say that you should be employed as an ECMO Specialist and recommend that you have at least two years of experience.
Get Online and On-Site ECMO Training from SpecialtyCare
SpecialtyCare is the largest ECMO provider nationwide, and we offer online and on-site training to help you become an ECMO specialist and advance your career. Our online ECMO training program has been designed by a team of ECMO industry experts with over 100 years combined experience. Through this program, you will be able to work at your own pace in a kinesthetic learning experience. We also offer 40 hours of clinical bedside training to allow you to become confident and independent while caring for an ECMO patient. If you’re ready to start the journey to becoming an ECMO Specialist, contact us today!