Vickie Snyder: Using Outreach to Increase Awareness about HTM

I was recently was asked if I wanted to attend an event at a high school to talk about healthcare technology management (HTM). I try to go to these if my schedule allows because I love to talk about HTM and what we do.

As part of the effort to help students train for careers after graduating, Apple Valley School in Minnesota offers a lunch-and-learn program that introduces students to an industry person and an educator from the local technical school who shares their expertise and tips for pursuing skilled work. It includes what the career opportunities are, salaries, job outlook, tips to getting hired, and a quick overview from the college on how to apply for the program.

Since this happens during the student’s lunch periods, students have to sign up ahead of time, and the food is provided. For this event, eight students signed up and seven showed up. They were in grades 10–12 and included three females and four males. All were interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs or the medical field.

After the presentation, the students were asked how interested they were in going to school in the HTM field. Two said that they were more interested in HTM than the others—one male and one female. They were given all of the materials they needed to apply for the school, and we were then on our way.

I left this event feeling highly encouraged. This is one model that we need to pursue to get people interested and knowledgeable about the HTM field. My hope is we can build on this model by working with the membership of our local biomed association and the four technical colleges in our area. This is a great way to inform young people about what we do and to get them interested in HTM. It’s going to take some effort. But we have to do something if we want people to know what we do and for young people to enter our field. This one-hour presentation got two more people interested in HTM, and every little bit counts.

Vickie Snyder, MBA, BS, is a consultant for the Veterans Health Administration SOARD project, which deals with inventory management for medical equipment and supplies.

One thought on “Vickie Snyder: Using Outreach to Increase Awareness about HTM

  1. I like this idea of lunch and learn at local high schools. During my role as a clinical technology analyst, I had 5 BME graduate students come to me for course projects in systems engineering and health information systems. I took that as an opportunity to introduce these students to HTM.

    Till date, they have been the best clinical systems engineers I have worked it. They willingly volunteered to help BMETs and clinical engineers on our team, assisted and shadowed them during service calls, even assisted senior clinical engineers during calibration and setup in critical care areas and the operating room. The 12 week rotation in different areas we service helped them narrow down their interest areas. These students were hired as FTE after completion of their graduate school course projects, volunteership, and masters as system engineers. They worked on important initiatives such as medical device cybersecurity, capital equipment replacement planning, 7-year budget forecasting, risk management, and workflow optimization.

    We have to take the risk with young students and professionals and help lay the ground work.

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