Donald Armstrong: HTM Week Is a Grand Time to Celebrate the Biomed Life

Having breakfast with colleagues, we greeted each other by saying, “Happy Biomed Week.” We have a party this week, so the greeting that particular day might turn into, “Happy Biomed Day.” One of my smart and funny co-workers said it should be “Biomed Life” because we live it every day. What a great point. We deserve to be thought of every day as we never stop being biomeds—certainly not while at work and, for some, even after work as it kind of consumes you once you are in it.

I walked away from that breakfast with a little smile and many thoughts about what it means to have a biomed life. Full disclosure: I am married to a nurse. Given that we both work in a hospital, it’s not a surprise to me that I think about my work often, but I had never considered it my life. But it is more of my like that I originally believed.

What I do know is, excluding my faith and family, I owe almost everything I am to the biomed life I have lived the past 33 years. I met my wife in the hospital, earn my living, and grew into the person I am today because of the biomed life. I also realize now that I am able (with a two-year degree) be a part of incredible teams within the hospital. I primarily work in the ORs, and I get to see amazing things. Most of the people in that room have five times the education I have, but because I know the equipment, I am important. I’m just incredibly blessed to be a biomed.

I have been very fortunate to work in three states as a biomed, and the work and responsibilities are the same. We work tirelessly to make sure the equipment work safely and effectively. We make sure equipment gets checked in and inventoried before being allowed in the facility. We teach those who will be using the unit how to operate it, and we troubleshoot devices when they don’t perform. We wear many hats, and we wear them proudly. It is a busy and rewarding life. Sometimes it is frustrating, but I would not have it any other way.

So during this celebration of HTM Week (and, as you see, I like calling myself a biomed), please remember that it is not just one week we should be grateful and appreciated for—it’s an entire life.

Please let me know if you have any thought about this whimsical post. It comes from the heart as I love being a biomed. It has given me more than I could have ever imagined.

Donald Armstrong, CBET, CHTM, works for Stanford Health Care in California. He is a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council.

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