Where and what is your current position?
• 10+ years of in-hospital experience focused on a wide range of priorities including: patient safety, medical device and technology management, requirements analysis, procurement and acquisition of equipment, investigative reporting, risk management, expert opinions, corrective recommendations, and Health Canada mandatory reporting.
• Corporate management for a team of 35 staff including biomedical engineering technologists (BMET) and engineers (P.Eng.) across 3 separate campuses including clinical and diagnostic imaging teams.
• Responsibility for healthcare technology management including oversight for 22,000 medical devices, a $10M operating budget and procurement of $12-15M capital for medical equipment replacement.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
When I graduated from a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate degree, I was unaware of Clinical Engineering. It was UBC that gave me the opportunity to be a specialist with medical equipment in hospital and set me on this career path.
How does this job relate to your graduate degree?
The coursework and internship fully prepared me for the issues and challenges that I now face as an in-hospital Clinical Engineer and Manager. It helped to have professors that had working experience (not just academic) to apply the learning. I took a wide variety of elective courses and the blend of Business, Science, Engineering and Medicine gave me a broader perspective of healthcare.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
1) UBC has a dedicated Clinical Engineering program (although no longer advertised as such on the webpage).
2) I wanted to live on the west coast of Canada.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
I liked the diversity of courses I could take in the program. I had a really great group of people that were in my program. We worked hard, learned from each other, and we still keep in touch today.
What are key things you did that contributed to your success?
Be hungry for what you want. Don't just look at what you want, but consider what your employer needs and how you might fill that need.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Check in with yourself with everything you do. What do you like, what would you want to change? Keep moving your career towards your interests. Getting to where you want to be takes persistence. Be patient with yourself as you move through your journey.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
Following my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, I pursued a BSc in Physical Geography. After graduation, I worked for 3.5 years in the field of HVAC building science and engineering. This helped me because I discovered I did not want to keep doing this for my career and decided to go back to school at UBC for Clinical Engineering!
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
I came to CHEO as an experienced clinical engineer, and I was able to obtain a 3 month contract that developed into full-time work. I quickly showed my value and was promoted to be a Manager of 3 acute tertiary care facilities.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
Going back to school after working for 4 years was an adjustment financially, socially, and mentally.
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
Clinical Engineering is a niche area within Biomedical Engineering. Jobs for clinical engineers are rare, but there are peripheral jobs in equipment planning or quality improvement departments as well. Jobs are typically posted on hospital webpages and through the hospitals networks like Indeed or LinkedIn.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
I like that my job doesn't feel like work. I also like that each day is different. I may go into the office with a list of things to do that day, but higher priority things come up! Working as a manager is a different challenge than being a clinical engineer. As a clinical engineer, I am responsible for the projects and the successes of those projects. As a manager, my time is my employees time. I oversee projects, staff and contracts. I am using my business and personal international skills now more than my technical skills.