During the month of May, the country got to see and celebrate our industry during HTM Week. One of the positive outcomes of the pandemic was that it illuminated us and our jobs. We responded to the need and did so in our usual unceremonious way. I always take HTM Week to reflect on all we do and how we contribute to health care in general.
Thinking about our profession always fills me with pride. Our daily activities put us in contact with people in need and those who are dependent on our skills to help them heal. I find it humbling that we can help clinicians treat patients and help our facilities manage their technical resources. I do not know too many industries that have that claim.
It is human nature to focus on the stresses of life, and this industry and job have plenty. Sit around a table with biomeds, and you soon will hear the story of the 2 a.m. call because an essential piece of equipment is down or the STAT call to the surgical suite to repair a video system that has lost its picture. We respond immediately to solve problems and ensure patients are treated safely and accurately. We do it without grandeur and usually from the basements of our facilities. We will complain how nobody respects us and how every unsolvable problem gets pushed our way. But in the end, we do what is asked humbly.
I am amazed when talking to my colleagues about the breadth of service we provide. We all know about the basics of our job. Preventative maintenance, safety checks and repairs are all part of our daily routine. However, when you dig deeper, you will find that we also are equipment planners, safety champions, CQI experts, equipment distributers and regulatory readiness facilitators. Some of us are repairing beds, stretchers, nurse call systems, wheel chairs, instruments as well as audio visual equipment and systems. We embrace these additional services to save or facilities money or to just improve service for nursing. Wherever there is a need, we will get the call first. We are great facilitators and always know that everything we are asked to do connects to a patient and needs a solution.
The COVID-19 pandemic truly showed our worth. We built ICUs out of old equipment in storage. We extended controls to operate equipment from the hall. We even repaired the PAPRS and CAPRS that clinicians needed to go into COVID-19 rooms. We did whatever was needed to ensure clinicians had what they needed to treat patients.
In May, we celebrated one of the most valued and unknown hospital departments. The men and women who take care of patients without ever touching one. They support clinicians without being one and positively impact operating margin by eliminating expensive service contracts. I hope every HTM professionals was recognized for these efforts. Some days this job is very challenging, but I think that is what makes it the best job. It allows us to stretch our minds, grow personally and professionally while making a difference to the most vulnerable of our society. So, my colleagues, please take time to give yourself a big round of applause, and feel good that your work matters and is important to so many people.
Jim Fedele, CBET, is the senior director of clinical engineering for UPMC. He manages six Susquehanna Health hospitals. He has 30 years of HTM experience and has worked for multiple service organizations.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TechNation or MD Publishing.
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