Wayne State College

Wayne State College Graduate Continues Study As Cardiovascular Perfusionist

Published Friday, September 9th, 2016

Bipul Pokhrel and Dr. Barbara Engebretsen
Bipul Pokhrel and Dr. Barbara Engebretsen

A WSC alum reflects on his time at Wayne and how it helped pave the way to his career in cardiovascular perfusion.

The 7,638-mile trip from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Wayne State College has been worthwhile for Bipul Pokhrel, a 2014 graduate of WSC. He shared insights with students in Dr. Barbara Engebretsen’s classroom Aug. 30.

“The leadership skills that I learned here at Wayne State College have been the most important part of my education,’’ Pokhrel said. “I did not know I could do all the things that I have accomplished until I came here. I was involved. I learned to be a leader and gained so much knowledge by working with my professors. Wayne State College classes are designed to help you excel. Teachers can pinpoint their approach to each student.’’

Pokhrel is earning his master’s degree as a cardiovascular perfusionist. He will start rotations in a week at Spectrum Health Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Mich. He will later study at the Mayo Clinic before taking two board certifications.

As a cardiovascular perfusionist, Pokhrel will work with surgeons during open heart surgery and operate a heart-lung machine. He will help surgeons by taking the blood out, oxygenating it, and returning it to the body.

The cardiovascular perfusionist operates extracorporeal circulation equipment during any medical procedure in which it is necessary to artificially support or temporarily replace a patient’s circulatory or respiratory functions. Profusionists routinely administer blood products and medications, and control the temperature of patients during surgery.

Inspired by his brother, Pokhrel came to also study at WSC. His brother Dipendra Pokhrel ‘11 and Bipul Pokhrel ’14 shared a number of endeavors at WSC; however, one of the most remarkable has been their assistance with Engebretsen's work with CHEERS (Children’s Hospital for Eyes, ENT and Rehabilitative Services) that allowed the WSC alumni brothers from Nepal to coordinate relief activities through Orphan Grain Train in Norfolk to ship a container of medical and humanitarian supplies for Nepal earthquake relief. 

The brothers organized local fundraising, gathered medical supplies, and helped inventory medical supplies for Orphan Grain Train's shipment to CHEERS in partnership with Rotary of Wayne and Providence Medical Hospital in Wayne. CHEERS has various outreach clinics and a unique extension model. It also has a collaborative partnership with Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, one of the country’s public universities. Engebretsen also is working closely with the Kathmandu Research Center for the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies, which has a long history of coordinating international exchanges. Engebretsen continues to work with CHEERS (and ANHS) to address hypertension in Nepal and developing countries. 

“The environment was friendly at Wayne State College because of the people,’’ Pokhrel said. “When I first came I was taken back with culture shock that people I didn’t even know said ‘hello’ to me. I asked my brother, ‘Do we know this person?’ He told me, ‘Welcome to Wayne.’ I began to say hello to people too, and then when I went to larger cities, I missed those opportunities to say, ‘hello.’’’

Wayne State College located within a small community turned out to be a positive for Pokhrel by helping him focus on his education.

“The smaller size town of Wayne adds a benefit to you as a student,’’ Pokhrel said. “You will do what you are supposed to be doing - your studies. I did make many friends and have contacts with people that I can keep in touch with. I learned something from everyone that I spent time with here.’’

For more information, please see the summer 2015 issue of the alumni magazine.