Recently, there has been discussion on MedWrench and LinkedIn about what advice you would give to a BMET who wants to pursue a career as a manager. If I was faced with this, the first thing I would do is ask if they were prepared to put away the toolbox and give up troubleshooting equipment and answering service calls. I would explain that you have to be willing to trust the technicians in your department to handle the daily equipment problems that occur in the hospital. Too many BMETs who get promoted into management are unwilling to do this and as a consequence they try to straddle the line between being a technician and being a manager. The inevitable result is that they are unable to do either job well. If you want to become a manager you must dedicate yourself 100% to becoming he best possible manager that you can be. If you are unwilling to do that you will be doing a disservice to your hospital, your department and the people who report to you.
Once you have made the decision that you are willing to dedicate yourself to management, it is time then to think about the managerial role. You need to ask yourself what goals would you have for your department and what plans would you make to achieve them. Good managers make things happen; they set goals and figure out ways to achieve them. They do not sit and wait for others to decide direction for them. I would advise them not worry about the paperwork. It is a boring nuisance, and fundamental to all management positions, but if you are intelligent enough to troubleshoot medical devices, you will easily learn what you need to know about paperwork, budgets, payroll and etc
I suspect that for most technicians the hardest part of becoming a manager is to develop your writing and speaking skills. If you do not know how to write and present proposals, you will not be able to present your ideas persuasively and you will have difficulty moving your department in new directions. You can learn business writing at many local schools or through extension programs. One of the best ways to develop your speaking and leadership skills is to join Toastmasters. They are inexpensive and provide a highly supportive environment for people who want to learn to speak well.
If you want to be a successful manager, you need to have a philosophy of personnel management that suits your personality and style. As a leader you need to have a vision of how you will create an environment where every department member enjoys coming to work each day. You also need to create an environment where there is a sense of teamwork and each member can grow and learn to become better at their jobs. This is an important responsibility because the success of the department depends on how well each member performs their assigned duties. Always remember that as a manager, you are the leader of the department. You need to understand that leadership requires that you set a good example in terms of ethics and integrity.
Finally, I would tell them that management can be a most rewarding career because you get make a difference in your institution and in the lives of the people who report to you.
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