In last month’s Up Front, I asked whether anyone these days still had the job title “medical equipment repairer.” Since the article was about the use of the term by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear from several readers that the title is alive and well in the halls of government at least.
As one reader employed by the Army commented, “Medical Equipment Repairer is our vintage (circa1974) Wage Grade (or ‘WG’ as we military folks refer to it) 4805 job title in the Office of Personnel Management’s Job Standard. Although the generic description is timeless—they ‘install, modify, troubleshoot, maintain, test, calibrate, adjust, overhaul, and repair a wide variety of medical, laboratory, and dental equipment (electronic, electrical, and mechanical)’—the examples they provide are archaic, including such high-tech equipment as spectrophotometers, x-ray equipment, and electrophoresis equipment.”
Another reader who works for the VA healthcare system wrote that medical equipment repairer is in fact his job title. But, he said, “I call myself a biomedical technician because I am a biomed in the Army Reserve, and the work I do here at the VA is biomedical work.” In his facility, he wrote, there are three different categories of biomed: medical equipment worker, medical equipment repairer, and biomedical equipment support specialist. The main distinction among the titles as far as he could tell was pay level.
And of course, no discussion of HTM job titles is complete without a criticism of the term HTM itself. As a third reader commented, “If I had never heard of this job, at least I would instantly understand what a medical equipment repairer is. It is so much less ambiguous than healthcare technology management. Oh, well. After 40 years in the field and only 1 year and 9 months to go, I can say that I will be proud to retire as a biomed.”