Do you ever wonder what it takes to become a senior BMET? Does it just take a lot of years of experience and then you magically become a senior BMET? Does the senior BMET need to be certified? Does the senior BMET need to be a leader? We gave this a lot of thought when we rewrote our senior BMET job description several years ago.

The senior BMET should, of course, be an expert on all types of medical-equipment repair. With the ability to service the simplest to the most complicated medical equipment, they can shift gears quickly from repairing a suction regulator to working on a balloon pump. They are able to get under a bed and repair it with ease, and then scrub up to work on an anesthesia machine in the operating room. They can also easily answer questions for the nurse or the physician about how a complicated bedside monitor should operate. While your senior BMET shouldn’t work on the simple repairs the majority of the time, they should never view any repair as beneath them. If the job requires a lot of work to be cranked out, the senior BMET will step in with the rest of the staff to repair the equipment. The senior BMET sets a high standard in the biomed shop for medical-equipment service.

The senior BMET is also looked upon as a key resource for the installation and proper use of new medical equipment. With their wide range of experience, they can work closely with project planners, nurses, and administrators on new construction requirements of medical equipment. They not only understand the technical operation of the medical equipment, they also understand the workflow involved by the clinical staff when they use it. The senior BMET is a leader in our field and is respected for their knowledge by both the administrators and the clinicians in their hospitals.

The senior BMET is as flexible as they are experts in our field. Mentors to the other BMETs in the shop because of their biomedical expertise, they have the patience and knowledge to train other BMETs about the complexity of medical-equipment service. They openly and willingly share their wisdom and experience so others can also grow in the biomedical profession.

Possessing more than just the knowledge of repairing medical equipment, they understand the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirements for medical equipment and how the Medical Equipment Management Plan fulfills those requirements. They can easily handle questions from the JCAHO inspector and explain all the aspects of medical-equipment service in the hospital.

The senior BMET stays abreast of the continuing changes in our field. They are constantly studying new trends in equipment, regulations, and service. They read the journals and magazines, and they view Web sites dedicated to our profession. They also update their skills in IT to take care of the wide range of computerized medical equipment that we see every day in our hospitals. They constantly update their education to be fully prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.

The senior BMET also achieves the CBET title through hard work, experience, and a clear knowledge and understanding of the biomedical profession. They clearly understand anatomy and physiology, they can comprehend the complex requirements and regulations that govern the safety of medical devices, they have a thorough understanding of electronics, they are experts in medical-equipment function and operation, and they possess excellent troubleshooting and customer-relations skills. They are advocates for certification, and they help other BMETs obtain the skills needed for certification.

So, the senior BMET is more than a BMET with 5 or more years of experience. They set a high standard for the other BMETs in the biomed shop. The senior BMET should possess the education, experience, leadership skills, and certification necessary for this important job. The senior BMET is an important member of the health care team. They are the future leaders of our biomedical engineering departments.

David W. Braeutigam, MBA, CBET, is corporate manager, clinical technology services, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas.

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