Date of Submission

Spring 5-26-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Mary Lynne Knighten

Second Advisor

Sara Horton-Deutsch


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) offers hope for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome when other treatment methods fail. However, ECMO requires continuous hourly management leading to extremely high operating costs. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high number of patients on ECMO led to a significant increase in the costs when using perfusionists to manage ECMO. Switching to a nurse-driven model resulted in a 52% decrease in costs related to the hourly management. Changing to a nurse-driven program provided increased nursing support and sustainability, and with determination and support, other ECMO centers can change to nurse-driven programs too.