Job Title: Medical Engineering Apprentice
When you were a child, what did you dream you would be when you grew up?
What excites you most about STEM?
The sheer variety of all the different jobs there are available and being able to learn and understand the process of how things happen.
What do you love about your current job?
The fact that I am able to support all the clinicians in the hospital with the correct equipment so they can better carry out their job.
What does a typical day at work involve?
The repair and maintenance of a vast range of equipment throughout the hospital. From vital signs monitors to infusion devices there is a huge variety of jobs to do. I also perform other jobs such as acceptance checking a range of equipment, safely disposing of devices which are beyond economical repair and assisting with patient safety issues. All in all the typical day also includes assisting ward staff in the correct use of equipment, repair damaged equipment and carry out preventative planned maintenance.
What is the most unexpected thing about your job?
The range of equipment there is. Before going into an environment such as a hospital you expect there to be a variety of equipment but until you are in that setting you don’t truly appreciate how vital medical equipment is in the care of patients and simply how much equipment there is. Before starting my apprenticeship I could only list potentially one fifth of all the devices we have. It really is eye opening how many different devices there are.
Did you have any role models when you were younger?
My dance teachers.
What inspired you to do the job you are doing now?
I’ve always had a passion for technology and physiology. Both of these very different fields I believe can be used to hugely complement one another – particularly in a healthcare environment. That is why I originally had my sights set on pursuing a career in radiography, but I found myself more drawn to Medical Engineering the more I researched it.
What toys or games inspired you during your childhood?
Knex building sets.
Your favourite subjects at school?
GCSE’s in Sciences, Maths, English Lit & Lang, R.E. Sport, Business, ICT, History
A-Levels in Physics, English Language, IT
AS Level in Law
BTEC Level 3 in Electronic/Electrical Engineering
In your words, what is a healthcare engineer?
A healthcare engineer to me is someone who both understands the need for medical equipment and the effect that equipment can have on the patient. This includes having a clear grasp on the physiological effects a device can have on the body and the reason for using that specific piece of kit. They have also been aptly trained in the repair of medical equipment, and also trained to deliver any training on new pieces of equipment as well as advising on patient safety related issues.
Your reason for choosing this career? Why Healthcare?
I have always had the goal to better other people’s lives in any way I possibly can. I felt working in this environment would give me the challenge I craved mentally but yet the stimulus of helping others. I also saw it as an opportunity to improve the health and life of others where possible.
Tell me about your career path to date?
Prior to commencing my apprenticeship in September 2018 I studied my A-Levels at college in the hope of being accepted into University to study radiography. However, mid-way through my first college year I saw the NHS apprenticeships advertised and they really appealed to me the more I read about them. I applied but unfortunately I was unsuccessful. But with the experience I gained from the interview it really helped me excel in my university interviews which lead to me getting accepted at several universities for a mixture of engineering and radiography. However, following my interview for the apprenticeship at the end of my first year at college I knew there would be another opportunity to apply the following year – which is exactly what I did. I then declined my university offers and chose to take the apprenticeship route which I do not regret in the slightest. I am now employed by CHoICE Facilities Services which is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation trust. The apprenticeship training provider is Northern & Yorkshire NHS Assessment Centre.
What advice do you have for the Healthcare Engineers of the future?
Pick the brains of those around you and learn from them; ask as many reasonable questions as possible. Try and think for yourself to solve problems. But mostly I would say enjoy yourself, there is huge satisfaction and reward in knowing that you were potentially an integral part in helping someone recover from an illness or aided in the diagnosis of something for example.