By K. Richard Douglas
For all of the reasons why 2020 may be a year that many people would want to forget, there have still been some big achievements that will make 2020 memorable for some.
Winning the AAMI and GE Healthcare’s BMET of the Year Award is not least among them. For 2020, that honor went to Nicholas “Nick” Grecco, CBET, team lead in Clinical Engineering Services at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital and Mease Dunedin Hospital; both a part of the Baycare Health System in central Florida.
Grecco says he has always had an interest in technology.
“I attended college and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. My first job was performing circuit-level repair of medical devices. Back then, component-level repair through schematic-level reading and digital logic troubleshooting was the daily occurrence. I learned then what it feels like to accomplish something through tedious troubleshooting, which was followed by the reward of the repair and return to service. The satisfaction of knowing we truly have an impact in every patient’s care is what first interested me in the HTM/biomed profession,” Grecco says.
Grecco’s education in electrical engineering was supplemented with HTM-specific training and business education.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in business. I also graduated from the U.S. Army’s Biomedical Equipment Technician course. I enlisted after a company layoff in 2008,” he says.
Since entering the field, Grecco has held many positions and responsibilities, including repair technician, senior repair technician, technical support specialist, contracts specialist, product manager, marketing manager, biomedical tech II, biomedical tech III, clinical engineering team lead and clinical engineering interim manager.
Grateful to Work in HTM
It goes without saying that every HTM professional faces a number of challenges throughout their careers. Many can be remedied through troubleshooting and others may require increased hours or working under special circumstances. Grecco reflects the thoughts of many in the field when dealing with a pandemic that has challenged all of health care.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest special challenge that we’re all facing. We’re living in a very different world now. I have always taken pride in the personal relationships I have made with team members, vendors and patients. With social distancing, I have had to adjust to a ‘new normal’ of professional interaction. That said, it is truly for the greater good to protect the patients, the team members and myself,” he says.
Outside of the challenges posed by the pandemic, there is the mission of protecting hospital equipment and patient information from bad actors.
“One of the biggest special projects I have been involved in has been related to cybersecurity. The HTM teams are working around the clock to protect our equipment from cyber threats like malware and other viruses. As an HTM professional, it is my responsibility to ensure the medical equipment is fortified with every safeguard,” Grecco says.
The hard work and dedication have not gone unrecognized for Grecco’s more than two decades in the profession. The AAMI/GE Healthcare award was a big surprise.
“I first heard of the AAMI/GE Healthcare award in the military during school. This award is like the Stanley Cup of HTM. I was ecstatic, honored and humbled,” Grecco says.
He had been recognized previously with regional and statewide awards, which included the 2018 Bay Area Association of Medical Instruments (BAAMI) Biomedical Technician of the Year and the 2018 Florida Biomedical Society (FBS) BMET of the Year.
Away from work, Grecco enjoys anything that has to do with being on, or near, the water. That includes swimming, fishing and boating.
He is happily married and has five kids.
Asked what TechNation readers should know about him, Grecco reflects on a perspective that many biomeds embrace.
“I have been in the HTM/biomed field for over 23 years. I am the technician who finds joy disassembling things, but will meticulously place the parts in a manner so everything is reassembled fully. I will see things at 10,000 feet, but can still zoom in and analyze things at a micro-level too. I truly have fun in this job, and you should too,” he says.
Grecco says that fun begins with your surroundings.
“Build relationships with your follow team members, and it doesn’t matter if they’re in biomed, maintenance, food service, EVS, or they are doctors or nurses; having allies in the workplace is important. They will help you when you really need it one day and you will be thankful for it,” he says.
Grecco says that he has been to college and tech school, numerous vendor trainings, and the military, and he is still learning.
“So never be complacent. Our field is ever-changing and you have to change with it. Lastly, in today’s professional environment, and living in the COVID pandemic, I am extremely thankful and grateful to not only be employed, but also be employed in this wonderful HTM field,” Grecco adds.
At a time when a positive outlook is most needed, it takes the important members of the HTM field to support clinicians and equipment. Nick Grecco has met that challenge and has been recognized for the value he brings to his team.
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