Over the years, many of us have participated in mentoring, training, and certification activities related to the work of healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals (both clinical engineers and biomedical equipment technicians [BMETs]). Personally and professionally, we have benefited immensely from these efforts and found them to be highly rewarding.
Many certification programs are available to HTM professionals, including CCE (Certified Clinical Engineer), CBET (Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician), and CHTM (Certified Healthcare Technology Manager). These programs are essential to professional development and advancement. Therefore, it is critical for all who are certified to help increase awareness about the benefits of such credentials, as well as assist and advise those who are pursuing certification. To do this, we can get involved in test preparation, such as teaching review courses and creating review materials. In addition to furthering the careers of the next generation of HTM professionals, this involvement also provides the instructors with a sense of satisfaction in knowing that they are helping people better their lives and succeed professionally. Personally, I have found that organizing and teaching review courses is useful in staying up to date on my knowledge about clinical engineering. Also, the teaching process helps me think critically about the subject material and its real-world applications.
Another way to help your HTM colleagues succeed professionally is to share your experiences, knowledge, and insight on various topics related to the field. This could be accomplished by writing articles for professional publications, including BI&T, the Journal of Clinical Engineering, and 24×7. Researching exciting developments in the clinical engineering field, such as changes in standards and regulations or a new innovative piece of equipment, can be fun and interesting. And the process of writing an article drives you to learn new things and share your learning in a way that will motivate others.
Mentoring is another way to help other professionals in their work. Organizations such as AAMI and the American College of Clinical Engineering offer mentorship programs and are extremely beneficial to everyone involved. Additional mentoring opportunities are offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Technical Career Field (TCF) program and the graduate clinical engineering program at University of Connecticut (UConn), both of which I have participated in. The TCF and UConn programs are two-year training programs. The former is developed by the VA for several fields (including biomedical engineering for engineers and BMETs), while the latter is specifically geared toward graduate students earning a master’s degree in clinical engineering.
As a mentor, you can organize the training of interns by assigning them to projects throughout healthcare facilities. You can help them by providing resources, including identifying people with whom they should work or those they can help. Interns also can join you at meetings with leadership and vendors, as well as attend conferences, providing opportunities to learn about the HTM field and network with fellow professionals. Applying to be a mentor is highly encouraged, given the value that interns add to workplace and the personal satisfaction that mentoring provides all involved. Mentees provide a fresh perspective and often come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems. Their enthusiasm and eagerness for knowledge brings a breath of fresh air to the workplace and stimulates an environment of learning.
I am calling upon my colleagues to get more involved in these educational activities. The next generation of HTM professionals will benefit immensely from these activities and help enhance our profession.
Arif Subhan, MS, CCE, CHTM, FACCE, is chief biomedical engineer at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System; president of the American College of Clinical Engineering; adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Connecticut; and a member of the BI&T Editorial Board.