In recent articles I’ve written much about the state of biomedical equipment technology programs and the need to replace the growing number of HTM personnel who are aging out of this career field. In each of these articles I have asked for your help in replenishing the ranks by asking everyone to help advise potential candidates about this career field. Many of the students in the BMET program at Caldwell Community College come into the program because they know an uncle or neighbor or friend etc. who has a job in the field. These students usually do very well in the program and advance to a very rewarding career. However, this may not be enough to keep many programs viable.
I have concluded a more proactive stance must be taken to ensure we can replenish the ranks in the HTM career field. AAMI has once again shown its leadership capabilities with efforts to attract potential students into this career field and continues to promote the field in many different ways. A recent USA Today, supplement entitled “Careers in Healthcare” included AAMI-contributed information about the HTM career field. It shines a light on this career field and the many opportunities it has to offer. Here is the link to the article, please share with potential students you may know: http://www.educationandcareernews.com/learning-tools/as-health-technology-grows-so-do-career-opportunities.
I have shared the information about the inverse relationship of the economy and school enrollment in past articles. This is evident in the age of students I have seen in the BMET program in the past two years, which is much younger. When it is difficult to find employment opportunities many people will return to school to gain more skills for a better career. This is the population of students that have sustained many biomedical programs, the career changers. Currently, with generally good job availability, these older students are not returning to school for more education and the potential for a better job. So, where do community colleges find the next wave of students to fill the classrooms? You guessed it, the local high schools.
This past August at the North Carolina Biomedical Association (NCBA) annual symposium I was elected to the board of directors for another term. It is my intention to try to get our state organization more involved with mentoring more high school students about the career opportunities in this exciting field. I would also encourage other state organizations to take a lead in this effort.
In North Carolina, many schools have a health occupations education pathway to expose students to careers in health care. This pathway even has a section entitled “Biomedical Technology” but, it has nothing to do with BMET or HTM as managing healthcare technology. Recently, I spoke with a high school biomedical technology teacher and she knew nothing of the career field in HTM as a biomedical technician. I am scheduled to visit with these students to expose them to the BMET field as we know of it. I am anticipating a great response from many of these health occupations students when I enlighten them about this new facet of opportunities in health care.
Next month the NCBA holds its annual board retreat to plan the next year of events for the organization. I hope to share my vision of getting the state organization more involved with recruiting solid candidates to fill the shoes of so many talented individuals who will be retiring soon. Wish me luck as I begin this endeavor to replenish the ranks. I will report back in my next article about progress and road blocks I run into.
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