Steve Hibbert is a Senior Clinical Engineer at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Steve is one of the people who works behind-the-scenes in the NHS, making repairs to equipment and disposing of the old. He kindly told us about his work, how he got into clinical engineering, and the best route into this career.
Can you give some examples of what you do in a typical day or week?
Repair and maintenance of medical equipment: this can range from small, portable syringe drivers to large, haemodialysis machines. I also accept new test equipment and dispose of old equipment.
Regarding annual maintenance, this is usually planned. The repairs depends on the day and what is reported. These can sometimes be urgent and require an immediate response.
I also cover out-of-hours times while on-call.
What do you enjoy most and least about your work?
I have always enjoyed helping people and it is nice to know and see that doing a repair, especially if it’s on a ward, means the equipment can be used.
Some days can be a bit repetitive.
How did you get into your current career?
Following school, I did a BTEC National in Engineering for two years and then a BTEC Higher Nation in Electronic Engineering for another two years. I managed to get a job as a Trainee Clinical Engineer. As a part of my training, my employer paid for me to do a Bachelor of Engineering degree on day release. This took five years. After another three years, I became a Senior Engineer.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your career?
Everyone would need GCSEs including Maths and Science. The best route and the way we are training new people is on an apprenticeship scheme, which can be from 16 years old. We send apprentices to college and then to university to complete up to a degree level qualification whilst having on the job training. We currently have four apprentices on the scheme and maybe planned more in the near future. Our average departmental age 56, therefore we need to find new engineers.
A huge thank you to Steve for detailing his experience and telling us about the apprenticeship route.
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