Q: In a recent HTM staff meeting the topic of BMET career development and job descriptions led to a good discussion and debate on what separates a Tech II or Tech III (depending on department structure) from a Senior BMET. Aside from years of experience, what specific skills and attributes does it take to become a Senior BMET?
A: My working definition was always that a BMET III was a fully independent technician that could handle any situation that they encountered. They possess the skills, talent and experience to tackle anything, and know who to contact if it was beyond their capabilities. A Senior BMET was always a supervisor, a BMET III who additionally was able to supervise 2 or 3 BMETs. Some others may use a different definition.
A: In my program structure, we do not have BMETs and Imaging Engineers. We have one structure with 5 levels that accommodates the spectrum of skill-sets from entry level to senior professional. The first two levels do not require ACI certification or other identified certifications. The final three steps do require ACI certification or another certification identified for the program such as CCNA, CCENT, CCNP and others since my program also covers biomedical device integration (BMDI), patient monitoring networks, PACS networking and configuration, etc. As mentioned, my top tier job title Senior Medical Systems Engineering Technologist (Sr. MSET) requires leadership skills since these team members are identified for future leadership opportunities within our system. Please note, I purposely steered clear of college degrees, i.e. BS, MBA, MS, etc. I have found in my career that discriminating potential personnel based strictly on a college degree eliminated many very qualified and competent professionals. Of course, there is a level of required education for personnel to earn to be part of our program, but it is not the first thing that is looked at in the hiring process. Experience is the initial discriminating factor depending on the open role to be filled.
We have tried to eliminate the “us” versus “them” between Imaging Engineers and BMETs. I have found in my career that structures with BMETs and Imaging Engineers breeds hate and discontent among the staff. I am trying to build high-performing teams that deliver value and safety for exceptional patient care.
I hope I have helped you and provided some “food-for-thought.”
A: We have tried to eliminate the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ between Imaging Engineers and BMETs. I am a Healthcare Technologist. What does that mean?
It means that I (personally) repair and maintain steam sterilizers, infusion pumps, endoscopy towers, surgical tables, surgical lights, ESUs, diagnostic ultrasound, surgical and ophthalmic lasers, medical gas systems and dental systems.
Ohh, and by the way, I also repair and service rad-fluoro suites, nuclear medicine systems, C-arms, PET-CTs. And did I forget to mention Dental PACS Sysadmin and Anesthesia ARK Sysadmin?
I’m a freakin’ Biomed, people … and you should be, too.
The more we specialize, the more we fragment … and the less valid (and valuable) we are. Be a specialist, if that’s all you can be. But can you be more? And don’t you owe it to your employer (and your patients) to do more?
Q: We have over 100 VersaCare beds in our facility. I constantly have to go unlock them. The side rail controls will lock up and you cannot operate anything on the rails? Hill-Rom says they do not know about the problem but, will gladly sell me boards on a daily basis! Can anybody help?
A: Here is the bad news: in my time in the field, and now with the 100 at my work, I have never ever seen, heard of, or come across this issue. I am afraid to say this is a user (nursing staff) issue. All it takes is one to do it often to run you ragged. The only off record issue with that side rail is it can become non operational due to a loose chip that gets added pressure from torque and twist. You can even re-set that chip simply by pressing in the correct spot on the caregiver side of the side rail. However, there are no lock out issues. I hope this helps at least a little. Just in case, contact Hill-Rom for any new issue.
A: Every one of my VersaCare beds has experienced this problem at least once. Sometimes you can reseat the chip by pushing on the right spot (you can hear the chip snap back into place), and sometimes you have to open the side rail to reseat the chip. This has always remedied the problem, albeit for various periods of time before the chip will once again unseat. Some of the nurses have witnessed me pushing on the side rail to reseat the chip and have started doing it themselves and reporting to me if they had success.
A: So, we are talking about the same thing; not the nurse “lockout” then. The side rail mold has a ridge inside that contacts that chip. The only fix I found for that is when I would do a call on this issue I would simply cut out a small part of the area that interfered with the chip. Pain, I know. See if Hill-Rom will cover the expense for repairing this defect.
A: Oh yes, Hill-Rom does know about this issue. When I was an employee, it was discussed in my training class (almost 3 years ago) on the VersaCare. Don’t get me wrong though, VersaCare and all of Hill-Rom products are excellent compared to its competitors, in my opinion.
A: Our Hill-Rom service guy showed me a trick. Some of the VersaCare side rail PC boards have a IC chip that needs to be reseated. You can remove the cover and find the chip, then gently partially remove and reseat it. Sometimes you can also push on the cover in the area of the chip and that will solve the issue, albeit sometimes just temporarily. Hill-Rom did send our facility some replacement boards free of charge, depending on serial numbers. Newer boards have the chip soldered into the board.
A:We have about 300 of these beds. At one point, Hill-Rom came out and replaced all the side rail PC boards in our VersaCare beds with the latest revision in which that chip is soldered into the board so it can’t work its way back out.
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