?For Canadians passionate about working in the clinical engineering or biomedical equipment technology (BMET) field, and who want to learn more about current trends and cutting-edge equipment in the industry and network with their peers, membership in the Clinical Engineering Society of Ontario (CESO) might be the best first step.
CESO (pronounced see-so) is a Toronto-based organization entirely made up of volunteers who do everything from coordinating annual conferences and running monthly meetings, to providing a forum for discussing relevant issues in the industry. There is no paid staff, and the board is made up of five volunteer members.
CESO president Bill Gentles, PhD, PEng, CCE, is vice president of BT Medical Technology Consulting in Toronto. He says that one of the group’s central objectives is to encourage networking among members and to help them keep in touch throughout the year, not just in meetings. In a province as big as Ontario, he explains, it can be difficult to meet fellow technicians from other hospitals without an organization like CESO. Particularly valuable in this regard is an email listserv that the organization makes available for all its members, he says.
Membership numbers vary from year to year, but are usually somewhere in the vicinity of 100 people or so. “We actually don’t have a membership roster,” Gentles notes. “But anyone who registers for our annual conference becomes a member.”
In 2015, CESO’s winter conference will be held February 12 to 13 in the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning Auditorium of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The conference’s preliminary program (per the organization’s website) consists of educational opportunities and technical seminars that include topics such as “Nontraditional Roles for Clinical Engineering Departments,” “Dialysis Technology Update,” “An ENT Teaching Simulator,” “Screen Calibration of Video Monitors,” student presentations, a number of roundtables, and more.
This not-for-profit’s only source of income is the conference—through registration fees and exhibitors who rent booth space. “Exhibitors provide useful information when it comes to new technologies that are available, which can then be used for our daily tasks or for increasing the capabilities (software or new modules) of test equipment we might already have in our possession,” CESO member Gad Acosta adds. Acosta is a technologist, in the surgical support group of the Medical Engineering Department at the University Health Network in Toronto. Each time Acosta attends a CESO conference, he says, he has multiple interactions that lead to a broadening of his understanding about clinical engineering and BMET-related topics.
One of the group’s goals is to unite the members of the clinical engineering and BMET professions. “Ontario is vast. Its area is over one million square kilometers,” explains Acosta. “By providing a physical space and a set time when and where clinical engineers and BMETs from all across the province can debate and exchange ideas about current issues, we have regular interaction among members,” he says. There have been times at such events when controversial topics (such as in-house versus company service) were hotly debated with BMETs from other hospitals, and common ground based on evidence-supported best practices was found.
CESO encourages the professional growth of its members by developing and providing educational and other extracurricular opportunities. Topics encompass those outside the common areas in which clinical engineers or BMETs are exposed to in their daily work routine or specific tasks performed within their departments. As an example, Acosta describes a technical seminar on Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot in which clinical engineers, BMETs, and students who had only heard or read about the surgical technology had the opportunity to get hands-on interaction with a simulator and gain information from a technician who worked with the robot on a regular basis.
CESO similarly provides an excellent opportunity for members to hear from the experts in the field about the latest topics regarding clinical engineering and BMET, Acosta adds. “We can also express our questions, engage in stimulating debates with clinical engineers, technologists, and students, learn about future professionals through presentations, and work from college and university students, as well as preview the cutting-edge technologies that researchers from the province and abroad are currently working on,” he says.
A Broader Reach
CESO has an affiliation with the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society (CMBES), and many members of CESO also belong to CMBES. “There is a collaboration of ideas between the two organizations,” Gentles says. “We help each other out.” This relationship provides yet another opportunity for feedback regarding medical equipment from a clinical engineer or BMET who has experience working with it or looking into acquiring or evaluating it.
The benefits of membership in an organization such as CESO are many—there are opportunities to glean a best practice or two, interact with a community of people on the same wavelength, learn about what’s happening in the industry and discover the latest in technology or equipment. 24×7
Nina Silberstein is a contributor to 24×7. For more information, contact editorial director John Bethune at [email protected].