When physicians and nurses come to you with design ideas or requests to make minor equipment modifications, how do you react? Do you work with them to help bring their ideas to fruition, or do you claim that you can’t help and hide behind fears of liability and FDA issues? If you want a to have productive and rewarding career you need to be viewed by physicians, researchers and nurses as the “go to” people when they have an innovative idea or just want to get something unique done. This requires a positive “can do” attitude. Unfortunately, too many in our profession only see reasons why they can’t do things.
One of Steve Job’s famous sayings was “Think different” and no matter what field you are in, if you really want to enjoy it, you need to take off the blinders and find creative ways to accomplish things. It seems to me that too many hospital based biomedical engineers and technicians have forgotten that. They have allowed themselves to morph into a negative profession that only sees impediments and not opportunities. Too often, they cry out that the risk of lawsuits or FDA regulations prevents them from innovating. Too many people in our profession seem to only see reasons why they can’t do things. The reality is that if you really want to innovate and if you take the time to do the research you will find that there are very few impediments. Yes you will have to study the regulations, and learn to work within the boundaries of the FDA, your Institutional Review Board, legal requirements and etc, but those are relatively minor and the rewards far exceed any levels of difficulty you may encounter.
We need more people in our profession who can think outside of the norm and stretch the boundaries of their departments. Too many departments seem to be maturing in the wrong direction and instead of developing a broader vision and range of services, they seem to see their primary function as low cost or dollar saving repair shops while they neglect the broader role they can play within their institutions. Too many measure their success by enumerating the amount of equipment in their inventory or identifying the range of departments they service. Somewhere along the line they have come to the erroneous conclusion that biomedical technology equals only repairing, testing and equipment calibration. There is no question that the bread and butter of our field is the day to day testing and repair, but the real fun comes from ignoring the naysayers and stepping out and expanding the boundaries of what a biomedical department can be.
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