Months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the mettle of even the best biomeds. This has been true in many health care settings, including the VA.
Liana Lucky is one clinical engineer who has risen to the challenge. Her boss remarked that she has been an integral part of her facility’s response to the pandemic.
“She worked with our physiological monitoring and telemetry vendor to expand our physiological monitoring coverage from 24 ICU beds to all 120 med/surg and ICU beds,” Jennifer Boudreaux Harrison, acting chief of clinical engineering said.
It is that type of effort that reinforces the importance of those in the HTM profession among all health care professionals.
Lucky is a supervisory clinical engineer with the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans.
Lucky knew she had a mechanical acumen from an early age. Although she was interested in medicine, she was not ready to put on a white smock.
“As a little girl, I was always taking things apart and putting them back together. I also loved spending time with my dad under the hood of the car all greased up. The engineering mindset was evident at a very young age. As I got older, I was fascinated with the medical field but not necessarily the clinical side of the house (i.e. the blood and guts),” Lucky says.
She says that by combining the health care environment and engineering; biomedical engineering was a match made in heaven.
“It is also a positive that we get to help people every day,” she says.
“I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering, followed up by a fast-track program for a Master of Science in engineering management. Right out of college, I was selected for the Technical Career Field (TCF) Program through the Veterans Affairs (VA),” Lucky adds.
She says that the TCF program is an “awesome” two-year program that consists of paid technical training, access to a preceptor and hands-on training.
“There are several career fields available, not just biomed. The VA does an exceptional job investing in the TCF program participants. I spent my internship in Boston learning the HTM ropes from some really great people,” Lucky says.
The experience and training paid off and led to a leadership role.
“After graduating from the TCF program, I took a systems clinical engineer position at the New Orleans VA Medical Center. This position focused on highly complex, technical systems throughout the medical center. It forced me to look at the big picture. The responsible equipment was not limited to only medical equipment, so it also was a great learning experience,” Lucky says.
Recently, Lucky was promoted to supervisory clinical engineer.
“I lead a great team of biomedical equipment support specialists and electronics technicians. It has been an interesting shift from the technical side to management. Every day is a challenge, but that is the best part of what we do. This field is constantly changing, and I learned very quickly whether you are on the technical side or management; you better hold on,” she says.
Liana Lucky discusses an imaging procedure with colleagues at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans.
When asked about challenges, Lucky reflects on the past year and the unrequested ride that so many in health care have been on.
“The biggest challenge of my career has been working through the pandemic. It was a struggle managing all the uncertainty in the community and in our personal lives. We are resilient and definitely believe we have come out stronger because of this,” she says.
Lucky explains that another special project she was involved with as a systems clinical engineer was the medical center’s emergency power system repairs.
“I came into the project without any knowledge of generators, utility feeders, etcetera. This was a challenge that involved many hours researching. It has definitely opened my eyes to a medical center’s behind-the-scenes facility operations,” she says.
“Last, but not least, I’m actively learning the tools of the trade for new supervisors. I’ve been focusing on workload management, updating standard operating procedures and figuring out creative ways to motivate the team. It helps that we have a great shop culture and supportive upper management. I’m excited to see what our future holds,” Lucky adds.
When not working with a team of top-notch HTM professionals, Lucky can be found enjoying outdoor activities as a newlywed.
“I love water sports – scuba diving, surfing, swimming, boating, fishing. You name it,” she says.
“I recently got married in May 2020. We are about to celebrate our one-year anniversary. I can’t believe it,” she says.
What would she like readers to know about her?
“Instead of talking about me, I wanted to highlight some amazing things that our community has accomplished over the past year. COVID-19 has been one crazy ride. In the news, we hear kudos to all the frontline workers. Biomed/HTM is often left out of the conversation; but please know that your hard work does not go unnoticed,” she says, speaking directly to readers.
She also reflects on some of the accomplishments of her department during the past year.
“We converted a med-surg unit to a COVID ICU unit from practically thin air. This involved redistributing medical equipment from all over the medical center and doubling ICU bed capacity. We managed additional ventilator and infusion pump procurements at exceptional speed. We made sure high-risk PMs were completed ahead of time; forecasting the surge during the due dates,” Lucky says.
She said that they entered COVID precaution rooms just to fix patient TVs; all while upholding safe patient care.
“It truly is remarkable what this community has accomplished during the pandemic. I am proud to be a member of the HTM field and to work alongside such incredible, passionate people,” she says.
From one unsung hero to the many others.
*By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding TechNation Magazine, Webinars, and Exclusive Promos.
© 2021, TechNation Magazine. Site designed by MD Publishing, Inc.