Medical equipment technologists can be as critical to a surgical team as doctors and nurses, fixing faulty equipment when lives are at stake. Watch technologist Sandra Swanson describe her job at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver.
Biomedical engineering technologists are the doctors of health tech. They respond to urgent calls to fix essential equipment like life support ventilators, anaesthetic drips, or vital sign monitors. When not in emergency repair mode, these technologists perform routine checks to catch problems before they become life threatening or extend wait times for critical diagnostics like MRIs, CAT scans and mammograms.
Biomedical engineering technologists are unflappable problem solvers. They must understand equipment and its critical medical uses inside out to provide calm support, so doctors and nurses can focus on the patient.
Information networks increasingly interconnect all types of medical equipment to instantly update digital patient records. Technologists make sure no link in the data chain will disrupt treatment or care.
These professionals also train medical personnel in new technologies like wireless devices that deliver critical patient information throughout the hospital and beyond. There are even Bluetooth stethoscopes that transmit data to a computer or allow an offsite doctor to listen in at the patient’s bedside!
For people who
- Are creative problem solvers
- Have strong troubleshooting and problem solving skills
- Thrive under pressure and manage stress well
- Are great listeners and communicators
- Collaborate easily across technical and non technical teams
Biomedical engineering technologists can enter their careers from bachelor degrees in computer science or engineering with specialty streams like Carleton’s biomedical and electrical engineering; Western’s biomedical engineering; or Guelph’s biomedical computing. Technologists also mash up courses in electronics and computing with chemistry and biology which are important to understanding medical procedures that equipment supports. Colleges like Centennial and Durham have three-year advanced diploma programs in biomedical engineering technology.
Biomedical engineering technologists work at the hundreds of hospitals and clinics across Canada. Some choose to specialize in specific types of equipment used for pediatrics, emergency medicine or surgery. Others take on roles in sales, consulting or maintenance with medical equipment providers like GE Healthcare, 3M Medical Division and Siemens Healthcare.