Biomeds nationwide are recognized for their contributions to patient care.
The governors of 17 states declared biomedical equipment technician weeks in 2003, and, although their names and dates differ, these weeks all offered an opportunity to raise the public awareness of this industry. Some that took place this fall are highlighted here.
Colorado State Biomedical Week was proclaimed by Governor Bill Owens and was celebrated September 8-13. Frank Nickells, CBET, and Tim Keenan from the Colorado Association of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (CABMET), tell 24×7 that CABMET held a symposium in conjunction with the Colorado State Biomedical Week.
“Our meeting was quite a success,” Nickells says, “We had about 15 vendor booths with displays, and we had monetary support from about 15 other companies. We had many positive comments on the ‘Table of Knowledge’ display, which included certification pieces [and industry regulation information].”
Keenan says that many shops celebrated by having open houses and/or lunches provided by vendors or their hospital administrations.
He tells us, “The week was a big success in promoting the contributions that biomeds make in health care [and in] generating interest for future biomeds to enter the field.”
Tom Citak, biomedical manager at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence, RI, says his state also celebrated biomedical technician/clinical engineer appreciation week. He and hospital biomed departments statewide petitioned Governor Donald Carcieri requesting that Rhode Island be the 14th state to acknowledge the health care professionals who test, inspect, repair, calibrate, and modify medical equipment.
Biomedical Technician/Clinical Engineer Appreciation Week in Rhode Island. From left to right: Michael Walsh, RI Hospital; Mark Lenzi, RI Hospital; Andrew Mastalerz, Roger Williams Hospital; Bernadette Parillo, Kent County Hospital; Thomas Citak, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital; Governor Donal L. Carcieri; Steven Santos, Philips Medical Systems/ S County Hospital; Robert Lavoie, The Miriam Hospital; Jody Cabral, RI Hospital; Shyue’Ling, RI Hospital
“I worked along with the governor’s Office of Constituent Services on this project, and Governor Carcieri’s office sent me the document declaring September 21-27 as Clinical Engineering/Biomedical Technology Week throughout the state. [Here at Our Lady of Fatima],” Citak tells 24×7, “I created a display that included photos of technicians working on medical equipment and an article about the career opportunities for biomeds. In addition, there was a display of the history of defibrillation, which included an archived picture of the first human to be defibrillated, as well as a photo of the first defibrillator used. Medtronics/Physio-Control was very generous in sending several laminated copies of the history of defibrillation from their archives. I displayed one of their older model LifePak 9s and one of their new Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Model 500.”
Rhode Island is the 14th state to officially recognize the contributions of biomeds.
Citak reports that 10 other Rhode Island hospitals participated in the Clinical Engineering/Biomedical Technology Week, and the managers of several of the programs in those facilities posed for a photo with Governor Carcieri. Bernadette Parrillo, biomedical engineering supervisor at Kent Hospital in Warwick RI, had a copy of the proclamation posted on the public relations board and wrote an article about the proclamation and why it is important to recognize the work of biomeds for the hospital’s weekly newsletter “Stepping Together”.
Tools of the trade for Maryland biomeds
Not too far down the coast, Victor Dobbs, a biomed at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore and incoming president of the Baltimore Medical Engineers and Technicians Society (BMETS), tells us that October 12–18 was proclaimed Biomedical/Clinical Engineering Technicians’ week by Governor Robert Erlich Jr. Dobbs says he and his colleagues at Union set up a table with flyers, cake, and a video cart that allowed hospital employees to see the inside of equipment.
Robert Resnicoff, CBET, checks out equipment during Maryland Biomedical/Clinical Engineering Week.
The observance came just in time to coincide with the 20th anniversary of BMETS on October 15. The anniversary meeting was held at Baltimore’s new Maryland Science Center.
Nancy J Luze, senior biomed tech at Bergan Mercy Medical Center in Omaha, Neb, and a member of the Heartland Biomedical Association, tells us that Governor Michael Johanns issued a proclamation for a biomedical awareness the week of September 7–13.
“Since this is a fairly local association, we then sent letters to all biomedical engineering departments in the state, advising them of the opportunity to gain recognition for themselves during this week,” Luze says.
Nebraska Governor Michael Johanns proclaims Biomedical Awareness Week September 7-13.
When asked about special events that took place during the week, Luze says, “The only activity that I can definitely speak about would be the open house we at Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center held on Friday, September 12.”
To promote the event, Luze designed a flyer that was posted in strategic areas of the hospital, as well as electronically. Snacks and beverages were catered through the food services department.
“We spent a great afternoon visiting with staff—some of whom had never been to our shop—and discussing our job with some who didn’t know our function here at the facility,” Luze says.
Other states reporting biomedical technician engineering weeks this fall are Pennsylvania, October 19-25, and Indiana, November 2-8. Kelly Van DeWalker, president of the Indiana Biomedical Society, says this proclamation is particularly important as it was one of the last things former Governor Frank O’Bannon did before he died.
Commenting on the importance of making hospital staffs aware of what biomeds do, Bill Knight, 2003 chairman of the board of the California Medical Instrumentation Association, tells 24×7 that he would like to see all biomedical technician/engineering weeks be held on the same dates.
“I would like to see an appeal on Biomedtalk [Listserv] for state societies to coordinate this date with their brother state groups for a national date [that would have] more impact.”