By Joie N. Marhefka, Ph.D.
I am excited to be writing my first “The Future” column. I thought a good place to start would be by sharing my thoughts on why I think the future of healthcare technology management (HTM) is so bright. Before I get to that, I’d like to briefly introduce myself.
I am an assistant teaching professor and program coordinator for biomedical engineering technology (BET) at Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) – just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – and have been in this role for just over four years. I teach courses on medical equipment, electronics, networking and troubleshooting. Prior to starting at PSNK, I worked in research and development of medical devices and technologies while doing some part-time teaching. I am glad that I made the decision to become a full-time educator. I certainly enjoy working with and sharing my knowledge and experience with biomed students. I believe that education is one of the best ways to prepare for the future, and I’m glad to be a part of that in the HTM field. Over these past four years, a number of things that I have seen and experienced make me believe that the future of HTM is bright.
The first is our students. In the short time that I have been teaching at PSNK, we have had many excellent students in the BET program. Many of our students do a great job with troubleshooting and problem-solving. In recent years, we’ve had several students recognized for their academic excellence by winning national and local scholarships. The motivation of some of our students gives me hope for the future, too. We have students working on research projects, volunteering at local hospitals and presenting at conferences in addition to their class work. It has also been great to see the successes of our recent graduates – getting the jobs they want, advancing quickly in their careers, getting certified and presenting at national conferences. Many of these students – past and present – truly want to make a difference with their work and that gives me hope for the future.
The second is the great people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the past four years. The local biomed community has been supportive of our students and program by providing internship opportunities for students, speaking to classes and serving on our industrial advisory committee. The commitment that HTM professionals have shown to fostering future biomeds has been amazing and that makes me confident that young biomeds in the future will have the mentoring that they need to flourish.
The third reason that I see a bright future is the opportunities that HTM careers present, which I believe will continue to attract talented, creative and motivated people. HTM jobs offer interesting work, competitive salaries, plenty of opportunities for advancement and the chance to help people. All of these attributes are attractive to those entering the workforce as well as those looking for a career change. Therefore, I am confident that great people will continue to enter the HTM field in the future.
The BET students that I’ve taught, the local biomed community that I work with and the opportunities that the HTM field presents make me confident that the future is bright. Sure, there are challenges that will need to be overcome, including how to fill the numerous vacancies – current and anticipated – created by the wave of retirements. However, the people that I have met and the opportunities that are available give me hope for the future and confidence that these challenges can be overcome. I am happy to have the chance, by teaching biomeds, to play a small role in shaping this future. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you about “The Future” throughout the year!
Joie N. Marhefka, Ph.D., is the biomedical engineering technology program coordinator at Penn State New Kensington.
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