Tom Citak
Photographer: David Ciolfi

In May of last year, I gave a PowerPoint presentation on biomedical equipment technology for high school students enrolled in the electronics/computer and health occupations curriculum at the Warwick Career & Technical Center in Warwick, RI. John Clancy, BMET III, and Bob Harbick, biomedical manager, at Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, RI, also participated. They displayed an assortment of various types of medical equipment and biomedical test equipment to demonstrate to students. I led the PowerPoint presentation—complete with a variety of photos depicting BMETs working on a range of medical devices. The objective was to make high school students aware of the diverse opportunities available in a biomedical equipment technology career.

The Warwick Career & Technical Center is available to all students enrolled in high schools located throughout the state of Rhode Island. As a result of the presentation, Real Carpentier, instructor for electronics/computer technology, wants to include biomedical technology as an integral part of his curriculum next year. Our team has plans to assist him with securing viable, donated medical equipment and biomedical test equipment to make this possible. Carpentier has also accepted our invitation to devote time this summer at both Harbick’s and my facilities to learn more about our roles. The Health Occupations instructor at Warwick thought the presentation was very informative. The school has a mock setup of patient rooms in the Health Occupations classroom, and we will also stage medical equipment in her department to give these students a better perspective about what biomedical technology entails.

This is the second time within the past 2 years that I have presented such a demonstration at a high school to create an awareness of the biomedical profession. I discussed numerous topics, including “What Is Biomedical Equipment Technology?” “What Do Biomedical Technicians Do?” “How Does One Become a BMET?” “Current Job Opportunities,” and “What Biomedical Managers Are Looking for When Hiring a BMET.”

Bob and I discussed with the group different scenarios that BMETs may encounter during a normal shift in a hospital environment and described why working as a team player is integral to any successful endeavor. We also shared that given the opportunity to not just repair “stuff,” but install, train, and calibrate some of the most sophisticated medical equipment on the market today, all leads to a more enriched work environment!

Besides working in hospitals, we also showed the students a list of the many medical equipment companies and outsource service organizations where BMETs may find employment. We stressed that there is a national shortage of qualified BMETs and that they would probably never hear the word “layoff,” which is enticing information.

Bob and I would like to venture further and offer a special internship for those students who develop a keen interest in our field. I have recently been asked by the Community College of Rhode Island to join their advisory committee to offer external input and new ideas associated with revisions to its current electronic and computer engineering programs. I have found this field very exciting, and it never got boring. Many students at this stage in their life are just not sure what they want to pursue after high school, and offering them something different like the combined study of electronic technology and life sciences might make the difference in their taking an interest in biomed versus, for instance, a traditional IT path.

Read previous Soapbox articles in past issues of 24×7.

In addition to my efforts above, I have designed a universal biomedical emblem in the form of a patch (pictured) that can be sewn onto shop coats that I have been shipping to hospitals and colleges nationwide. You can read more on my Web site, If anyone would like to donate any biomedical test equipment for the high school biomed program, you may e-mail me at .

Tom Citak is the manager of clinical engineering at St Joseph Health Services of RI, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, North Providence, RI. He was assisted in writing this article by Ted Barbeau, biomedical manager at St Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, Conn. For more information, contact .

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