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Training the HTM workforce of tomorrow

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | May 03, 2021
From the May 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A future for HTM professionals
While the program is expected to help bridge the deficit of BMETs entering the field, HTM professionals, departments and college programs can take additional steps to address the issue. The first, according to Ottenberg, is getting the word out about what a BMET does and the role they play in hospitals and healthcare systems.

"We at HSS have done some really good things with our high schools and junior high, and through our partnership with CABMET (Colorado Association of Biomedical Equipment Technicians)," he said. "We have tried to embrace the belief that if we can bring the industry to people it will foster their curiosity."

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Ottenberg believes its takes “an overall broad and rounded skill set” to be a competent BMET with assets such as a “good knowledge of anatomy, physiology; theory of operation, to understand different technology clinical aptitude, communication, the ability to know your limits and when to get help.” All, he says, are necessary to prevent equipment failure and address maintenance challenges.

McGeary says training also differs in larger healthcare systems of 30 or 40 HTM professionals compared to smaller, critical access hospitals where the HTM department is only one or two people. “How do we make sure those people are trained to a minimum standard. When it’s just one or two people taking care of all the equipment they don’t have as much time to be mentoring or training a new employee.”

Mackeil says another helpful idea is to help the BMET candidate through the onboarding process. “Many hospitals have massive bureaucracy. It may take days or weeks for HR to churn through what they do. I would assign a member of the department to be a mentor to the person coming onboard while they’re waiting to be accepted, someone should keep in touch with them and make sure everything is on track.”

Maggie Berkey says skills outside of the technical expertise of the BMET workload are also essential. “Customer interaction and service is a huge part of being a good biomed. Schools aren’t all set up to have customer encounters or make the soft skills part of the training, or grading based on soft skills. What you can and cannot grade on influences those soft skills.”

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