Monday, May 4, 2020

Sean Burger: his heart is in his new job

Sean Burger

Grossmont College student Sean Burger was well on his way toward getting his dream job as an echo technician, performing diagnostic heart testing for cardiac patients. The COVID-19 crisis sped up his career path a bit.

Burger, a student in Grossmont College’s cardiovascular technology program, had done his six-week clinical studies last summer at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa, and had planned to resume his clinical work at the hospital this spring. Then COVID-19 struck, and hospitals no longer allowed students to do their clinical work.

Burger couldn’t do his clinicals, but he so impressed his bosses at Sharp Memorial Hospital that they decided to hire him instead.

“I couldn’t be there as a student, but I could be there as an employee,” he said. Burger started his new job April 27, even as he continues with his coursework leading to graduation in June.

Burger, a 30-year-old Lakeside resident, said the hospital had been planning to hire him even before the pandemic. He noted that many hospitals hire Grossmont College cardiovascular technology students after having them conduct their clinical hours at the facilities.

“We learn their ways, we learn their systems,” he said.

Burger entered the cardiovascular technology program at the prompting of his mother, who graduated from the program in 2004 and now works as a cath lab technologist. He had been laid off from his job as a property manager after his company was sold, and Burger said his mother encouraged him to enter the health field. He entered the Cardiovascular Technology program in fall 2018.

“I was really enthralled by the heart. The function of it was amazing to me,” Burger said. “The heart as a pump was always interesting to me.”

The Cardiovascular Technology program at Grossmont College has graduated more than 2,000 students since it started in 1972. The program has three specialties: adult echocardiography, invasive cardiology, and vascular technology.

Burger had high praise for all his instructors in the program.

“They have great instructors and great curriculum and the programs are amazing,” he said. “The professors I’ve had have been in the field at least 20 years and they have such a wealth of knowledge.”

Burger said he loves his new job and is glad that his education at Grossmont College led to his new career.

“I finally have a goal in mind, and it all felt like it was worth it,” he said.