One of the many wonderful surprises during this year’s AAMI Exchange was when I met and became friends with a fellow BMET who was attending from the Philippines. During our conversation, it became very clear that the shortage in healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals is a truly global concern.
Two weeks after the Exchange, my new friend Benito Macalinao visited my hospitals in San Diego, CA. He was so impressed with our staff, facilities, and organization that he invited us to a three-day HTM symposium in the Philippines, which took place just last week.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend in person—but I still wanted to contribute to the symposium. So, I produced a short video (filmed mostly in Filipino) to share with attendees what I believe it takes to become successful in the HTM industry. My goal was to raise awareness and hopefully inspire others to fully embrace an HTM profession, help each other, and motivate everyone to never stop learning. I believe it’s vital that we nurture and keep the talents we have and attract others to join HTM.
As an introduction and to establish credibility, I gave a little background on myself and particularly the BMET training I received from the U.S. Navy and my current employer. I discussed my degrees in computer science and healthcare administration, as well as various certifications that are available, such as CHTM, CBET, A+, Network+, Security+, Healthcare IT.
Below are the various subjects that I covered:
- Safety. This should be first and foremost. Focus on safety as it relates to patients, users, customers, ourselves, and coworkers.
- Develop creativity and analytical thinking skills. When presenting an issue or a problem, be prepared to recommend solutions, options, and recommendations.
- Be humble. Do not be too proud to ask for assistance. Strive for continuous personal and professional growth.
- Be hungry. Seek additional responsibilities, continue your education, and develop skills. If given the opportunity, get certified! It adds credibility that you are seriously vested in the profession and you know what you’re doing.
I also described the keys to effective learning, which follow the pattern of Study, Do, Write, and Teach:
- Study. Don’t be afraid of equipment that you’re unfamiliar with. There are plenty of resources for free to learn from such as manuals, videos, and websites. If available, attend service schools, seminars, webinars, training, etc.
- Do. Welcome each problem as an opportunity to learn. So much can be learned from hands-on experience with the equipment. You’d be surprised of what you’d pick up from actually doing the work compared to what’s on the manuals.
- Write. Writing down the experience along with tips and tricks help accentuate the experience. Become excellent in documentation! It’s very important to keep good maintenance history of the equipment. It’s comparable to a person’s medical record where we document signs and symptoms then the corresponding diagnosis and treatment. Create lessons-learned and how-to-guides, especially for those unusual and complicated services or repairs. They can be very useful when you encounter the same issue years later. Additionally, they can be shared with coworkers and fellow BMETs.
- Teach. Teaching others reinforces the lessons learned you’ve learned from experience. Always be willing to share with your teammates or customers. It helps build camaraderie and boost morale within the team, and you’ll get the good reputation of someone who’s willing to assist and teach others.
For the leaders in the audience, I emphasized the importance of taking care of their people. It is what I consider to be the number-one job of everyone regardless of whether you’re the leader by default or by job title. Staff members need to feel that leadership are concerned about their well being. It is extremely important to cultivate a caring and nurturing culture within the team. What a beautiful thing to witness a team who’s working harmoniously together! They will organically share knowledge and ideas, look out for one another, and go above and beyond to support one another.
It is important that HTM professionals stay engaged. We must read publications and HTM-focused resources to stay abreast with the latest trends and updates in the industry. Symposiums and conferences offer excellent opportunities to network with fellow HTM professionals and industry leaders. It also provides outstanding education sessions for everyone.
In closing, I challenged the audience—just as I’m challenging you—to become the best version of themselves. Cultivating work skills without corresponding personal development means nothing!
Jovito Gonzales, CBET, CHTM, is lead biomedical equipment technician at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center and AAMI’s 2019 BMET of the Year.