How do you get certifications for the repairs? Need insurance in case something goes bad? Do you have to deal with biohazard materials? Do you deal with the nurses or admin. staff? Someone mentioned cleaning dialysis machines for side money, I've been sort of interested in the field.
I have four trade tickets plus a college engineering technologist cert, the company I work for carries the insurance. Biohazards are a daily thing, you think those nurses clean the inside of the equipment?
I deal with all levels of nurses and admins not to mention directors and maintenance trades including subcontractors when doing multimillion dollar installs. You would have to be in Biomed or a Clinical Engineering tech to work with the dialysis equipment, that stuff is nasty though unless all your doing is taking care of the reverse osmosis equipment.
I take some (not a lot) of offense at the semi-educated part. Most of us are highly educated but highly specialized in what we do. When you're a caregiver, the education never stops. However, you better be more worried when they start staffing more medics and less nurses. We rely on our equipment for anything, and can manage a crisis just fine without it.
The problem isn't the patient education its the RTFM part, I can count on the finger of one hand how many nurses I have met that admitted spending five minutes reading the manual of the equipment they are operating. 95% of the phone calls I receive are for simple problems that could have been resolved by reading the manual before calling for service. Its not my money and if they fly me out to "repair" a device and I get there and the only problem was they couldn't figure out how to open the door or the device wasn't plugged in (those are my favorite! Chi-Ching!) or my other favorite...they need to press start...I don't really care.:thumbsup:
Throw in the less educated staff they are hiring to replace actual nurses, zero overhead in spare equipment due to capital cost reductions and you have a recipe for disaster and I get paid more money. I have equipment that has been repaired so many times they could have bought three replacements for the same cost, but to the bean counters that make the purchasing decisions the money comes out of a different basket. You want to know what is wrong with healthcare, I'll tell ya...they make money decisions based on capital replacement costs not repair costs. The repair dollars are easy to get because it gets charged per patient or comes out of a monthly budget, capital has to be amortized and comes out of gov funding or in the US - yearly capital purchases.
Guess how those in charge get bonuses paid...capital cost reduction...that includes personnel...equipment etc. Repairs they don't get a bonus on so the equipment is run into the ground instead of getting replaced...even if it costs 10 times more. I have some equipment installed in 1967...40 years old. NUTZ! The parts for these old machines cost 10 times the equivalent new equipment part because the mfg's know the score...they will make the money off ya one way or another.
I should mention the other dirty secret of healthcare, purposeful destruction of equipment by the staff so they either don't have to perform that duty that day or just want a new one, thats easily 10-15% of my repairs.
I think its laughable though when they call me up and give me the angry retoric that the equipment is garbage or it only lasted 3 months since the last repair...somehow its always my fault haha! Imagine calling up your local car dealership and yelling at the guy in the service bay complaining that the car is a piece of junk because you ran it into a tree, haven't changed the oil ever and don't know how to open the trunk or operate the Sirius radio and put on 100K miles since it was last serviced. Its hilarious!
The hard part is appeasing the whiners and fixing it up again knowing full well they will treat it like crap again and it will die three months later even after you take 30 minutes to train the staff again and again and again on how to take care of it and what to do to maintain it. I have one account that calls me every three days because one of the staff in the department keeps hitting the emergency stop switch which kills the power to the unit at the end of every shift. At another account one of the staff hates her job so much she slams the lid on one of their processors so hard she breaks a lid every three months at $2000 each plus travel costs and lodging...thats a $4000 touch every time she has a bad day. I have a steak dinner at The Keg everytime she does it to celebrate.
It can be stressful if you let it get to you because their problem is your problem and you have to fix it ASAP no matter if your in Tuktuyuktuk or downtown Chicago, the constant whining gets to some people I have worked with and they couldn't take it and either lose it on the customer or just quit out of frustration. Its a tough industry and no one is going to thank you or give you a pat on the back for doing a great job or call your boss and thank you for working 24 hrs straight to get them back up and running so the docs don't have to miss out on their perdiem when surgerys get cancelled....those Porche payments and million dollar cottage mortgages don't pay themselves ya know.
I should mention the perks, I get a new vehicle every 100K (about every two-three years)...my next one will be a 2010 Ford Flex (trying to wangle the eco-boost 355HP version this time
), free gas...as much as I can burn, company credit card with a $30K line of credit and I work out of my office at home. My laptop and company cellphone is how I communicate with my customers and the corporation, if you can't handle working hard without a boss over your shoulder you won't last. You need to be able to handle multiple tasks concurrently and know basic accounting practices and be an expert in common office programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint plus basic computer languages and know how to work in hexadecimal code. Knowledge of hospital practices and laws pertaining to equipment certification goes without saying. Basic machine shop practices are very handy and contractor management is a huge plus, its always easier to hire a guy to do what you want rather than go out and buy the tools and do it yourself...usually cheaper too.
Doesn't hurt to know how to compliment a lady and speak to a large crowd, being fit and having a nice butt doesn't hurt either...the nurses call you more often just to stand over you and watch you bend down...easily 5% of my service calls are what we call "lonely nurse" calls.
It also helps to have to have a good sense of humor and be able to roll with the punches in the face of extreme lack of common sense...a lot like being married actually.
The best part of my work is the pharma/scientific/research accounts, these folks take long lunches and are just happy you are there to take care of their needs. The pockets are deep and selling them new equipment is a breeze since they know how to spend their investment dollars...uptime is something they understand. The equipment is triple complex and much more challenging to repair, some of the work they do involves million dollar loads so the equipment has to work perfectly...everytime. Their maintenance staff are highly educated and hard working and know their stuff, the admins are pleasant and skilled and appreciate talent and hard work. There seems to be a big difference in peoples attitudes that get their PHD and go into research rather than patient care...they seem much happier to be honest. I love my Life Science accounts...all of them.
Its never the same thing every day, I never know where I will be going next and sometimes the challenges of personality conflicts at the accounts can be the hardest part to overcome...but I wouldn't have it any other way. I used to work in an office job with a south facing 5th floor window and wear a white lab coat and work 8 hours every day...BORING! This job challenges me every day and when the weekends come I enjoy my life to its fullest, lifes too short to spend it rotting in an office job or punching a clock if you ask me...I love adventure and challenge.
Last month I was in Quebec and next month I will be in Finland, had to brush up on my french and looks like I better learn some basic Finnish if I want to get by next month...if that sounds like too much work for ya...this job ain't for you. One of our techs works the Hawaiian islands and has his own plane and flys from island to island taking care of equipment, the company pays for his aircraft fueling and its maintenance...if that ain't sweet I don't know what is.
Its not the blood and guts you should be afraid of...its having enough of it to do this job you should be worried about.