I recently attended the Ohio HTM association meeting. Many passionate HTM professionals attended this meeting. I have to say that this is a very impressive group and they shared lots of great ideas. I left the meeting inspired and proud to be in the HTM field.
A lot of the discussion revolved around the lack of qualified HTM professionals and how to recruit new ones into the field. Another part of the discussion was promoting the field to the C-Suite and others. Finally, something that stuck out to me was a discussion about how a technician-level professional can take advantage of an AAMI membership and other professional resources.
I have written in the past about recruiting quality persons into the field and promoting the field to the C-Suite, so I thought I would give my thoughts as to how we can use available resources to improve ourselves and co-workers. I’ll focus on AAMI, but there are many resources out there.
For many departments, travel and training budgets are tight and are likely going to be spent on sending technicians to service schools rather than the annual AAMI conference. Many technicians are able to attend, but what about the ones who aren’t able to attend and still want to learn and grow professionally?
One of the groups within AAMI that I had the opportunity to work with for many years is the Technology Management Council (TMC). This is a group of highly qualified and experienced HTM professionals from around the country who come together to help promote, grow, educate and represent the HTM field nationally and internationally.
One document that I feel is a great resource for a large number of people is the core competencies guide for the entry-level HTM technician. According to AAMI’s website, it has released an updated guide to the functional and personal competencies – and related academic topics – that HTM graduates need to master to be fully prepared for employment in the HTM field. These skills were compiled by a committee of experts from academia, health care delivery organizations, independent service organizations, industry, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and others.
This document is very helpful in regards to educational programs to guide the development of curriculum and for students to gauge their understanding of relevant HTM topics. I also feel that this is a great resource for seasoned professionals to use to determine their level of understanding. Many have been out of school for a while and may want to see if there are any gaps in their knowledge base.
Many HTM departments are trying to determine if potential hires are receiving the training required to do the job. I feel that they could also use this guide to evaluate the educational programs from which they are receiving graduates as well as the graduates themselves.
The second edition of “Core Competencies for the HTM Entry-Level Technician: A Guide for Curriculum Development in Academic Institutions” is available as a free PDF at www.aami.org/corecompetencies.
Another document free to AAMI members is AAMI’s Career Planning Handbook. According to AAMI’s website, this handbook was designed by the Job Descriptions Taskforce to foster the development and advancement of AAMI members. Many AAMI members work in institutions where they are part of a small staff of HTM professionals. Finding good guidance on career advancement can be challenging. This guide will give you the information you need to have conversations with your organization’s leaders about your future career objectives. This is available online at AAMI.org in the AAMI store.
I find AAMI’s Leadership Development Guide to be very helpful for staff members moving into leadership positions. AAMI’s website says: Being promoted from an individual contributor role to being in charge of other staff can be a daunting career move. Leading others can be challenging; not only do you need to be concerned about your own performance, you also need to coach and guide other employees. The rewards of supervision and leadership outweigh the additional effort when you consider how much more you will get done and how much more your work, directing others, will benefit your organization.
AAMI’s goal in creating this guide is to provide healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals with the information needed to advance their career into leadership positions. The information in this guide is designed to inspire advancement into team leadership and on through the senior leader levels in your organization.
In addition to the print documents, AAMI offers courses through AAMI University, webinars, workshops and forums all of which are available to AAMI members without traveling.
These are just a few of the resources that my students and colleagues at hospitals find useful in career planning. There are many additional resources available online at AAMI.org as well as many other websites. I find that you can get great value out of your AAMI membership – even if you can’t attend the annual conference.
Another benefit is that AAMI membership is free to full-time students.
Steven J. Yelton, P.E., CHTM; is a senior HTM engineer for The Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a professor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College where he teaches biomedical instrumentation courses. He is the chair-elect of AAMI’s board of directors, chair of the AAMI Foundation board of directors, past chair of AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC), chair of AAMI’s HTAC Committee and is a member of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), board of delegates.
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