Women in Biomedical Equipment Technology: A growing opportunity

Women in Biomedical Equipment Technology: A Growing Opportunity

Dion Frederick

"When I enrolled at Stanly Community College (SCC) for the Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) program, my grant award was based on a 20% success rate for my demographic. Before I even started my classes I was expected to fail. But, not only did I succeed, I completed this program with a 3.8 GPA," explained Dion Frederick, a 2015 graduate who recently landed her dream job at Novant Forsyth Medical Center as part of the EPIC Integration Team.

While searching for a job one day, Dion stumbled on the biomedical equipment field and had no clue she would one day become so passionate about this field. Dion's colleagues suggested that she check out SCC's Biomedical Equipment program, one of only four offered in the North Carolina Community College System. After doing some research she decided SCC was her best choice. "I visited SCC's website every day for weeks before I enrolled," she said. "The instructors were very helpful and a few specifically went the extra mile to make sure students absorbed the information. Sonny Richards, Jeff Swaringen, and Chuck Safrit, just to name a few, were instrumental in my academic success. I couldn't have done it without their tutelage."

Dion received her internship at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) where she learned how to perform periodical maintenance on Intravenous (IV) pumps, Maquet Servo vents, Bair Hugger warmers, and other types of medical devices. "My internship is where I not only received the best hands-on training, but I also realized where I fit in and how I could contribute to the BMET field. While at CMC I modified an app to create a digital and mobile inventory system for medical devices. I figured most techs have smart phones or tablets, so why not use this technology for device management? I spoke with management about developing a mobile app compatible with their current system, where techs can manage equipment, check inventory and close out work orders while on the floor, never missing a beat. It would be time and cost effective," she added.

Dion admits that the hardest part of earning her degree was time management, "I knew I wanted to be a great student, and that requires more time and energy than just making a passing grade. I didn't just want to turn in satisfactory assignments, but rather I wanted my work to reflect stellar quality from a student who didn't mind going the extra mile. Balancing homework, my personal life and work was a task. It took practice." Dion believes that society is closing in on a new era of Biomedical Equipment Technology, where technical advancements will change the face of this field as we've come to know it. "It's going to be very different soon, and I'd like to be a part of that change. I'm certain I will be!" Dion also feels that people can become so content with boredom of routine that change can be extremely difficult to implement. "In the BMET profession, new ideas are encouraged. This creates the kind of environment that cultivates creativity, teamwork and skill growth. That's the type of environment I want to be a part of," she added.

Stanly Community College offers a two-year Associate in Applied Science Degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology. This curriculum prepares individuals to install, operate, troubleshoot, and repair sophisticated devices and instrumentation used in the health care delivery system. Emphasis is placed on preventive and safety inspections to ensure biomedical equipment meets local and national safety standards. Graduates should qualify for employment opportunities in hospitals, clinics, clinical laboratories, shared service organizations, and manufacturers' field service.

Additionally, students receive an opportunity to train at the prestigious Radiological Service Training Institute (RSTI), located in Solon, Ohio. RSTI has trained over 15,000 service professionals from over 50 different countries in radiology, mammography, computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound, networking, picture archiving & communication system (PACS), and digital imaging & communications in medicine (DICOM).

According to Economic Modeling/EMSI data (2015), the median hourly earnings for a Biomedical Equipment technician is $22.66/hour, with 446 available jobs in the region (Albemarle-Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC). For more information about the Biomedical Equipment program at SCC contact, Sonny Richards, Program Head, at (704) 991-0277.