After completing many years of University and working with fruit flies, Susan was looking for a change in her life. In 1990, Susan embarked on career in Respiratory Therapy at the University of Alberta Hospital. By 2000, after many years of flying all over the province on transports, the long hours started to become tiresome, as did the extra hours teaching future RT’s about pediatric heart patients and their management. At this point she became a member of the newly formed pediatric ECMO team at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Eventually she became one of the ECMO primers and briefly took on the responsibility of the Stollery ECLS program coordinator. In this role she worked with many cardiac surgery residents and was lucky enough to work closely with Dr. Ivan Rebeyka. She said ‘cardiac rounds in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is like going to med school for free’. As a primer, she once again found herself flying around the province to cannulate and transport pediatric ECMO patients to Edmonton. The long unpredictable hours as well as a significant amount of on call pushed her to look for another change.
In 2009 Susan left the familiarity of the PICU to go to Toronto to pursue a career in perfusion. Upon completion of her Perfusion training and successfully challenging the Canadian Society Perfusion Exam she started work at the recently opened Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. After a few years she trained as a pediatric perfusionist and also took on the role of clinical coordinator to mentor and share her vast pediatric knowledge with future perfusionists.
Although she still loves her work as a perfusionist, she has decided to embark on a new chapter. Wanting to enjoy life while she is still young and healthy enough to have fun she made the decision to retire. She will keep her foot in the door workingin a casual role, primarily to help fund her hobbies of spending weekends on the Gold Floor, scuba diving in the Caribbean with her sister and gastronomical vacations in California with her husband.
Congratulations to an inspiring, enthusiastic and committed Perfusionist on an amazing career!