Background: The objective of this systematic evaluation was to identify the sentinel standards necessary to obtain a core level of communication required of a clinical perfusionist during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Once these sentinel standards were identified and a core level of communication was established (via four simulated case scenarios), a team of cardiac healthcare professionals was assembled to interpret both the accuracy of response and the speed of response encountered in each case scenario. Methods: Four simulated case scenarios were utilized in order to replicate the typical patterns of verbal exchange that occur during surgeries using extracorporeal technology. The simulated case scenarios included CPB interactions associated with preparation, initiation, maintenance, termination and post CPB. For all CPB interactions, two variables were measured: accuracy of the perfusionist's response and speed of the perfusionist's response. The cases took place in a controlled setting within an empty operating room at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Four clinical perfusionists each represented the role of the "perfusionist" in all simulated case scenarios. Results: When analyzing the accuracy and speed of the responses, each clinical perfusionist recorded an average score of 96.3% or higher with all case scenarios. Since the clinical perfusionists who participated in the scenarios were primarily pediatric perfusionists, the scores were best during the pediatric case scenario, 99.3% (Case Scenario #4). The lowest scores were captured during Case Scenario #3 (96.3%) which involved a more intense adult patient scenario. Conclusion: The systematic evaluation of both response accuracy and response time (presented in various adult and pediatric patient case scenarios) can be beneficial within the realm of perfusion education. Students will be introduced to core communication concepts within the clinical realm. This study supports the idea that simulation and evaluation may ease the transition for students from the didactic to clinical realm in terms of communication. Further studies need to be developed in order to define "standard" CPB communication guidelines for perfusion students. © 2011 The Author(s).