AAs I write this article the 2015 graduating class of Caldwell Community College biomedical equipment technology program has not quite completed their internship portion of the program. However, about 50 percent of the graduating class has already accepted employment offers in the HTM industry with another 25 percent of the class having interviewed or been offered positions within the field.
All of the graduating students have put in tremendous work in fulfilling their dreams of becoming an HTM professional and their efforts should be applauded. However it takes more than just going to class to make a good biomedical equipment technician. At some point in the learning process students must put into practice what each of them has been taught in the classroom. So, I would like to take a moment to thank those who assist in the process of preparing these individuals for the HTM profession.
Here at Caldwell Community College students must perform a 320-hour internship to meet graduation requirements. A big thank you goes out to the facilities we use for clinical/internship such as Blue Ridge Healthcare in Morganton, North Carolina, along with the VA Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina and Carolina’s Healthcare in Charlotte, North Carolina and companies such as Aramark and Horizon CSA. I’m sure many other programs use health care facilities and companies close to their school to provide this crucial element of the learning process.
These health care facilities and companies, along with their HTM staff, have assisted many students in their educational experience. This is the portion of the students’ education where the rubber hits the road, as they say. Here the students try to put all the theory into practice with the help of experienced technicians. It is one thing to learn the steps of performing checks on medical devices in the classroom, but performing these duties while interacting with the medical staff is quite different. These are the skills that make a student truly employable and these skills are often learned while performing the internship portion of their education.
I believe it is because of the excellent guidance these students receive while performing their internship that the students are able to secure employment. Often these employment offers come before the student has completed the mandatory hours required for graduation. During the internship program students gain valuable skills as they observe technical skills needed to make repairs, but also witness the soft skills needed to effectively interact with medical staff and other health care personnel. As much as a teacher may tell a student how extremely important their communication skills will be to navigate a successful career in the HTM field, they don’t fully understand until they actually witness these skills assisting a technician in completing day-to-day tasks.
I would like to extend a thank you to not only the facilities and companies we use at Caldwell, but to all the HTM professionals who provide real-life educational experiences for the new crop of HTM professionals.
I would also like to encourage facilities and companies who do not participate in a biomedical internship program to consider becoming a provider of this important piece of the biomedical education. It’s a very rewarding experience to share your knowledge and help others begin a HTM career. I’m certain any college that has a biomedical program would love to hear from an area HTM professional willing to assist in the training of aspiring HTM technicians. It’s probably as easy as reaching out to the school with a phone call.
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