Danielle McGeary: What Every HTM Graduate Needs to Know

As graduation season is upon us, I want to sincerely congratulate everyone who is graduating from a healthcare technology management (HTM) or other academic program this spring! You all should be proud of yourselves. Having once been an HTM student myself, I can tell you that you have chosen a very rewarding and special career path. Being on the front lines helping clinicians with their medical technology is exciting and different every day.

However, what makes the field even better is that you not only have the opportunity to help clinicians through your work but also every patient that walks through the hospital’s doors. After all, the patient is the real reason why we come to work every day. If I could impart three pieces of advice as you start your work/internships, it would be the following:

Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn

When you ‘re in a learning/entry level role within an organization, you often have the opportunity to watch the medical instrumentation in use, such as during an OR or interventional case.

Never pass up those opportunities, even if it involves coming in early or staying a little late. Knowing how to change a part in a medical device is one skill, but also knowing and understanding the application and clinical workflow around the device will make you that much more valuable to an organization. Make sure you understand the bigger picture. As you move up and advance in your career, you will have less and less time to do this—so do it now.

Know the power of “thank you”

Healthcare organizations are truly made up of multidisciplinary teams to accomplish goals and projects. We often take for granted the many people who do so much behind the scenes (such as the administrative or custodial staff) that you work with every day. For instance, that new care unit that you helped design would not have been able to open if it was not cleaned.

I challenge you to send at least one thank-you email a day to someone who helped you. People remember when you sincerely take the time to thank them since it makes them feel appreciated. They will also be more apt to help you again in the future. You also never know when that person was last thanked, what they may be battling behind the scenes, and the impact your message could have on them.

Find a mentor and utilize them

Everyone, no matter what stage of your career, should have a mentor. It is essential that your mentor is not your boss. While your boss will (hopefully) give you feedback throughout your career, it’s better to have someone who you can talk to confidentially or seek a second opinion from. It is important for all new HTM professionals and young managers to know and recognize that most every work-related challenge or issue you face is most likely not unique.

As challenging as situations may seem in the moment (whether a difficult employee, an unhappy staff, or an upset clinician that just threw you under the bus when it was not your fault), you are not alone—it will pass and you will learn from the situation. Your success depends on how well you you navigate through these challenging situations and difficult conversations. This is where seeking the advice of mentor is key.

Use the Resources at Your Disposal

I wish everyone the best of luck, whether you are stepping out into the HTM work force for the first time or taking on new roles and responsibilities after earning an advanced degree.

For those who are seeking a mentor, AAMI offers an excellent mentorship program for AAMI Members. If you have not found a job yet or are looking to take the next step in your career, AAMI has a online Career Center, where you can upload your resume for potential employers and recruiters to see and where all members can search through posted positions. AAMI also hosts an in-person career center at the AAMI Exchange. I strongly encourage all of you to take advantage of these resources.

Again, congratulations on your academic accomplishments! I wish you all the best of luck and truly hope you find this field as rewarding and fulfilling as I have.


Danielle McGeary, CHTM, is vice president of healthcare technology management at AAMI.

4 thoughts on “Danielle McGeary: What Every HTM Graduate Needs to Know

  1. So for me, a few of the most important things every HTM graduate needs to know are:
    1. BMETs don’t fix technology, our primary task is to fix caregivers with technology problems. The human element of every service call is the toughest skill to teach, learn and even after years of practice as a BMET, it will always be a work in progress because technology, medicines, and clinical practice is always evolving.
    2. Your human resources, colleagues, friendships and contacts and knowledge base are your most important tools. Cultivate your relationships as your career grows. Never let a company put a device in your inventory without getting the service manuals, diagnostics and access codes.
    3. Always ask, “what is it, and what is it really” no matter how onerous or complex any medical device appears on the surface, under the covers the science and technology uses common design and physical principles.
    break it down into levels and components and understand what the device is, does and performs its task, and service it accordingly.
    4. A BMET is only as capable as his infrastructure. Just as a JEDI must build his own light sabre, a BMET must build their own collection of test fixtures, cables, and work bench procedures. It you have a task to do, read the manual, learn how to do it, make careful notes, as you learn, revise your notes, and document it for yourself so you don’t have to reinvent the procedure each time you are tasked to do it again. having the right tools, fixtures, cables, work bench notes and materials is essential. Build it once and you will have it for the rest of your career or the device life cycle.
    5. Always improve your clinical skills and integration with the caregivers you serve. Go to lectures, inservices, ask questions, learn how the caregivers use and employ devices at the bedside. Understanding the technology in the context of the care environment and from the perspective of the caregivers who use it is just as important as understanding the equipment’s physics and electronics on the workbench in the Biomed Lab.

  2. These are four excellent recommendations that apply in any field. I would add learning something about the history of this particular field to the list. A mentor can provide for some of that, but a broad set of perspectives can prove helpful. What has been HTM’s challenges? How has it addressed them? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? Are there any invariant principles that apply across time and professional role (e.g., I would argue that remaining as patient safety advocates as technology continues to evolve is paramount)? How does the history inform the present and future? And so on.

Leave a Reply to J. Scot Mackeil CBET - 2018 AAMI BMET of the Year. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s