Cause I have recently graduated as a medical electronics engineer (IPEM accredited MSc) and I am looking for a job, I am still quite confused about the eligibility of signing up with the VRCT. I have seen on the VRCT website that certain courses are required so that you can register. Is it not enough to have an IPEM accredited degree/masters to join?
Thanks in advance.
I'm afraid you may have missed the boat on that Fotios. I believe the extended grandfathering scheme, which allowed such things, has finished. And now you are required to complete a pointless course to get on the pointless register.
Even when the register was quite open you needed experience as well as qualifications to join. So having an accredited course is and was not enough.
Heard on the grapevine that VRCT maybe taken out of IPEM control and different set of criteria applied to enter?
No time frame mentioned, but before it becomes the State register, if ever?
One of the reasons mentioned was cause most EBME / MED managers disagree with the entry requirements set by IPEM and that most EBME / MED staff arent in IPEM anyway.
Sounds like a good idea, hope it's more than just a rumour.
Thought it might be helpful to clarify a few things.
First Robert was correct that there has always been a competency element to the training and it is not just knowledge based. If a degree or MSc has been completed that is IPEM approved then it is likely that a lot of the knowledge based elements will have been covered to some level. Of course not everything is taught on educational courses and there will be some knowledge base to be delivered in the workplace. The truth is that we continually update our knowlege and skill and so this approach should come as no surprise or present a problem to anyone
On the point of the VRCT register, the entry qualifications are not set or in the control of IPEM they are in the control of VRCT.
Something which the new member representative will soon be able to confirm
The aspiration of VRCT was, and remains that the register would become statutory and end up in the hands of HPC (now HCPC). Unfortunately because of a change of Government the registration landscape changed and Assured Registers came on the horizon. Nobody at this point seems to know how that will develop and what role, if any, the current VRCT structure might play. One thing is certain is that VRCT must work to ensure that the register can withstand scrutiny and that features like CPD audit are inplace.
In my view, the other thing that is certain is that if the register continues, who ever is in control or administers it etc, it will cost more (both to join and annually) and the criteria will be stricter.
Of course if the professions (VRCT and the other groups currently seeking registration) do not want to be registered then I suspect that will be viewed (at least by the NHS)as a comment that they do not consider themselves to be professional and I am sure the next action will be to try to pay them accordingly.
As I have always said if you do not act and work together as a professional group - why should anyone else treat you as a professional group.
So be careful what you hope for!
If it is for formal recognition then great but if it is just to get one over on the VRCT I hope you are near to retirement
Can I ask why you are not looking for work as a Clinical Scientist? MSc is over-qualified for VRCT.
OK Alan ... but you're saying "if
the register continues"?
@Bill: there are lots of folk with MSc about these days, Mate.
I was shown a "missive" from the Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC (not MSc)) people who want all BME managers to be qualified to PhD level!!!
Unfortunately, blokes like us never got the chance to peer too deeply into the thorny thickets (or should that be, still waters?) of academia, did we, Bill?
Back then, the (then) Powers That Be were in a hurry to "crank the handle" (of the sausage machine) and get us out to work as soon as possible. After all, back in those days there was still a great deal of real
work that needed to be done.
These days, fertile young minds are encouraged to linger
a little longer before venturing forth into the workplace. That way it makes the so-called "government"'s NEET figures look a little less discouraging.
* Master in Biomed Administration
I have been looking for clinical engineering vacancies till now, having a background in medical electronics, but had not considered clinical scientist vacancies as an option. Unfortunately there are slim pickings out there and lacking the work experience I would be happy to start in a field service role, where VRCT registration is required. If you have any suggestions on where to start looking I would be much obliged.
where VRCT registration is required
did you mean NOT required. It is not required in the NHS or any other institution but it is an extra string to your bow.
On the front page there is a job advert for a trainee biomedical engineer. No matter what qualifications you have, you have to start from the bottom - or at least low down - to gain experience. You cannot do a senior job without knowing what you are doing.
Steady on Robert, you're beginning to sound like me!
Old age setting in to my grey beard as well.
But the point you alluded to is a good one, all the same.
I have seen it (in a number of cases) myself:- and, no doubt, have mentioned it a few times before - "bright young things" (fertile young minds) come along to the workshop, full of confidence (fair enough), full of their own self-importance (not so good), and also full of [censored] (ditto
) ... but armed with bits of paper suggesting that they are Bachelors of this, and Masters of that - then, the next thing you know, they are either pushing the Old Sweat *Manager out of the chair, or (and worst yet) scheming to get the Old Guy put out to graze.
Like you, perhaps, I could recount actual cases where scenarios
like that have actually been played out.
To my mind, stuff like this is just another "unintended consequence" of the New Utopia where "everyone must go to University".
"Too posh to push" also comes to mind, for some (probably warped) reason.
* Who has of course, come up through the ranks, as it were.
I echo Robert's point. There is NO requirement to be a member of VRCT or any other organisation to work as a biomed. Some people feel that it gives tham some kind of kudos. There is no evidence that being a member makes you a better engineer. There is no substitute for ability & experience.
Employment-wise it might be a good idea to get the addresses of EBME departments and medical equipment suppliers & send out a load of CV's.
BTW, good career choice!
Two of my colleges band 5 engineers who have degrees in electronics and medical electronics one with 3 years one with 5 experience both compentant engineers are not elageble to join. I am only elageble through grandparenting myself. It seems to me that if the people who fix the equipment are not elageble to join the register is doomed to fail. We don't realy need more academic quailifications and with the current economic climate is it wise to force large amounts of staff to do more study?
My other problem with it becoming compulsarary is that it would have to include engineers in the NHS and in the private sector, because they can do exactly the same repairs after all. It would not make sense for one group of people to require regastration and another group who could may do exactly the same repairs on the same equipment who do not. Nurses and doctors need to have registration regardless of wether they work in the NHS or a private provider.
... the best possible, in fact, for the right sort of person - but often not realised for sure until - what - at least five years "in"?
Meanwhile, there has
been a great deal of empirical
evidence that a good indication as to whether the fledgling biomed is likely to be made of the "right stuff" in the long run, is having him (her) make the tea for the rest of the guys for the first couple of months, at least.
As I may have said before, the best biomeds tend to be humble souls (quietly confident in their own abilities, and competent enough to carry the work through to completion). Most of the Old Sweats in the game are impressed by attitude, aptitude, general enthusiasm, and a willingness to do the actual work - rather than by bits of paper or what-have-you.
In hospitals at least, the work can be (and often is) repetitious. So those who consider themselves "too clever to do mere PM" need not apply!
@Webbie: Yes, doctors, nurses (and many other professionals) are required to be registered ... but that doesn't seem to make much difference to the amount of malpractice
we constantly hear about, unfortunately.
OK ... let's take the example of the hospital biomed, and (for instance) the tech working at a manufacturer's service centre. Perhaps there's a case to be made about the hospital tech "interfacing" occasionally with *patients ... and that's why s/he needs to be "presentable", and with a modicum of empathy, let's say. But "personal characteristics" (human qualities) like this are usually readily apparent, if not at interview then at least "on the job" (or by peer review, if you like).
On the other hand, why should the guys working every day at the service agents' workbench be registered? What is to be gained there? They are being employed for their technical (electronics, fault-finding etc.
) skills, not their social attributes! After all, some of the best "Genius Guys" I've ever come across were long-haired, scruffy, dudes, wearing T-shirts, swearing a great deal, and engaging in almost constant "outrageous" banter!
* If indeed "protecting the patients" is in fact what "Registration" is meant to be all about. I don't know. Is it?
If hospital techs are being employed for their social skills I'd hate to meet the people who they reject*. I assumed the reason for registration was to make sure that we are appropriate people to repair, calibrate, PM'd ect. This would apply equally to all medical electronic techs.
*I am a hospital tech myself by the way.
The rejects are those dudes I was talking about! LOL.
Yes, I know you're a hospital tech. And I've been in quite a few of both types of situations myself, by the way ... although I freely admit that I'm more comfortable in my track bottoms and T-shirts these days!
OK ... here's the challenge to All and Sundry:- what is
the reason for this seemingly never-ending "push" (drag?) for Registration? In a single succinct (and, dare I suggest, rational and unemotional) paragraph, please.
VRCT may well die when all the trusts sign 30 year managed service contracts so all their current medical physics and EBME staff are then transferred to the managed service provider.
Then IPEM will have little say in the process as you can be sure the big companies will not allow restricted practices to continue!
Having those who work within the medical environment registered, HPC style, is a good idea to stop rouge individuals from endangering others but there is no need for such strict educational requirements, as these have little to do with ultimate patient safety. Basically only those who have mental health or competency issues, which are reported to the registration body, should be excluded from working on medical equipment and within the medical environment.
But why can't any miscreant
be simply sacked by the employer?
"Rouge individuals"? Criminals, you mean?
How about illegal immigrants? Are they included?
Lot's of thorny questions there, Mike. How to define, or demonstrate (lack of) competency? And how about discrimination against the unhealthy? ... etc., etc.
No need for all these mine-fields. Just draw up a water-tight Contract of Employment, and hold employees to that!
And, I might add, surely I'm not the only one who has noticed the recent trend towards short-term (or fixed term) "permanent" employment contracts. A contradiction in terms? Probably.
But why can't any miscreant be simply sacked by the employer?
As they could just go and get another medical engineers job somewhere else!
"Rouge individuals"? Criminals, you mean?
Rouges could include those with criminal intent such as theft, drug misuse, perverts and those who may want to harm others as happened with Dr. Shipman. There my be those who escape criminal proceedings who you would rather not practice within the medical environment.
On your first point ... I was anticipating that response (and therefore have my answer ready):-
What's to prevent the new employer to 'phone (email, whatever) the previous employer (and check out the candidate), just as would need to be done to "check" the Register?
If employers can't be bothered to check out references, and then things "go wrong" later, then who is at fault?
One other point, if I may. In my many years of biomeding
(in HM Forces, then overseas, and in the UK) I have come across biomed techs of all types; from the Genius Guys to the totally useless. Sadly, some have even been somewhat destructive (as in, prone to damaging the kit they were supposed to be fixing). However (although my memory may not be as sharp as it once was), I cannot recall a single case where a patient was harmed by the action (or indeed, inaction) of any of those guys.
I can see the case for medics
to be registered with the HPC (or whomever), because they are healthcare providers or practitioners, almost exclusively working in hospitals, clinics etc.
interfacing directly with patients. It is right and proper that the Public expects such folk to be "Registered" (if only that they, the Public, may feel reassured - sometimes falsely it would seem - that "all is well", or at least being managed correctly).
On the other hand, so-called biomed techs are engineering technicians
- support staff, in the same way as those who clean and maintain the building, work in the laundries or kitchens, the charity workers, the security guard (if any) and all the rest, are. Our interaction with patients should be, if at all, indirect. That is, there should always be a Registered person (medic etc.
) alongside to oversee the situation when we come into contact with patients. It is that person who should be "calling the shots" (and holds the over-riding Duty of Care).
Biomeds are not healthcare providers. But that does not mean that we are a bunch of uncaring jerks, crashing around the hospital, out of control, and simply doing as we please. Neither are we ignorant, insensitive clods.
Quite the opposite, in fact, if my own experiences are anything to go by. Neither does it mean that we have to be "brought to heel", made to "toe the line" (or whatever other metaphor we could dream up).
In no way can I see patients being "protected" from "rogue" biomeds (if such a person ever exists) by names written on a piece of paper, or not, as the case may be.
To be honest this is the impression that I have been given, that VRCT registration is mandatory for some vacancies, including NHS ones.
One other thing that I would like to point out, is that in no way am I under the impression, that having a masters makes me more knowledgeable than people who have gained their knowledge through work. I understand that I have to start from the very bottom (even if that means not getting paid) as long as I can be offered future career opportunities or at least work experience. The problem is though that to get a job you need work experience and to get work experience you need a job...
Have any of you actually seen the quality of the candidates coming out of colleges and universities these days?
As an example look at Eastwood Park
, entry requirements are GCSE's and experience of work in medical equipment field. But that experience doesn't guarantee a level of electronics knowledge and the engineering science is limited to a 30 credit module. Therefore how ever excellent the Eastwood park training courses are you can still get people coming out who don't have the basics in electrical/electronics.
It's similar in other colleges and universities and the favourite is usually Mechtronics courses. (although there are still good courses out there) Either they don't teach the practical skills like soldering or they go too practical and don't teach the fundamentals of engineering.
So Geoff it's often the case that even the "rogue" biomed is like the proverbial rocking horse doovers and thus what might have got you sacked in the past won't in the present climate.
What's to prevent the new employer to 'phone (email, whatever) the previous employer (and check out the candidate), just as would need to be done to "check" the Register?
The same reason that almost no companies will provide anyone with a reference these days, the possibility of litigation!
The intimate access to medical equipment and locations, which if compromised, could pose a threat to patients is much greater than that posed by cleaners and other ancillary staff. Engineers competency can also directly affect a patients safety if a medical device is not adjusted and maintained correctly (x-ray dose set too high, infusion pump flow settings not accurately calibrated etc.). Generally medical engineers are not as closely monitored as those involved in ancillary professions and this means a higher level of professional competency and monitoring is required. This may be best performed by an independent body as with the GMC or HPC.
But all this raises interesting debate which will only be ended if the government decides to enforce registration of medical engineers, which I am sure we will see this anytime soon given the current economic conditions.
Makes me wonder how we've managed until now. Perhaps we've just "gotten away with it" these past forty years or so, do you reckon?
Let's face it folks, this VRCT thing is Dead in the Water now. If "they" had cracked on with it right at the beginning, articulating clearly what it was all about (or, if you like, sold the idea properly, and dare I say, with a bit more "vim and vigour"), then perhaps by this time it would have been a Done Deal.
I suggest that the whole thing should be quietly shelved. And then, perhaps in a few (or better still, ten or so) years time, some Bright Spark can come up with something similar. Meanwhile (whilst they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs), perhaps "they" could put out some "consultation documents" (or whatever) to canvas opinion amongst the biomed community.
As I have said before, I quite like the Certification (of Biomeds) model used in the USA, so why not kick off with that
idea ... ?
I am sorry but I am afraid you are still way out of kilter! I am happy to tell you that the VRCT is not "Dead in the Water" but is very much still a viable and growing concern. We have over 3,250 registrants the majority of whom are medical engineering technologists. Furthermore, we are not twiddling our thumbs but are actively progressing a number of future options.
Our first priority is still statutory regulation for the profession - that is Clinical Technologists. So watch out for our Patient Safety Camapign starting in the New Year. Secondly we are engaging with the Professional Standards Authority, The Academy for Healthcare Science and IPEM in pursuing the other option of Assured Voluntary Registration. Additionally, members of the professional bodies, ART, IET and IPEM continue to work with the Department of Health to finalise the Modernising Scientific Careers BSc programmes in both the Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering disiplines. Much of the Medical Engineering input comes from senior medical engineering technologists.
Thus your idea of certification (which we have discussed numerous times over the years!) is on the way. It just looks different from the model that you have been proposing. Furthermore it will include the necessary practical training and be properly accredited and quality assured. This is actually an exciting time for the profession. I too wish I was 40 years younger!
No doubt you will tell me I am incorrect, or don't know the ways of the World but I can live with that. And I am sure I remember you and I agreeing to disagree on many occasions!
No Jim, I hope I would never presume to say you are incorrect about anything. Apart from your insistence on using the phrase "Clinical Technologist", that is.
Instead I admire the fact that you're still apparently so "full of beans" after all these years.
But "agree to disagree"? For sure. I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to be forty (or even twenty
) years younger. Not with the way things are with the world today.
But sticking with our own Little World, I was lucky enough to be around when biomedical engineering
was about supporting the medics and repairing equipment.
So I'm content these days to remain "out of kilter", whilst wishing all the Fertile Young Minds nothing but kudos
and success. The future lies with them, after all. But somehow I doubt that many will be rewarded with the sense of satisfaction that most of my (then) contemporaries and myself were occasionally blessed.
I would hate to be around when you cannot get a job, promotion etc because you don't have the correct paperwork or you do not belong to the right club. As with Geoff I have been offered roles and took on responsibilities through experience that given the current climate of documentation would never have been offered. Currently I am writing all the specifications for a cardiac centre, finished the outpatients building, completed all the standards for medical equipment as part of CBAHI, next up is a renal centre. All on City & Guilds and a lot of experience. I doubt that I would have been offered these roles in the West unless I had gone further in school! Give me experience over paperwork any day of the week and anyone that is willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, you can use the paper work to wipe the dirt off.
You're right of course, Neil ... but the fact remains that blokes like us are truly "Yesterday's Men". We just don't belong
in the Brave New World.
Five or six years ago I was advised by a guy in (what was) my old office in Riyadh that even the MOH is insisting these days on an MSc (for the type of jobs that I managed very well for years with "next to FA").
And (as you can see on this forum), similar forces are at work here in the UK. The Bar is being (or rather, has been) raised. But for the life of me, I can't see the real benefit in it.
I can only assume that it's all just "politics"; like when all the perfectly good Technical Colleges in the UK were magically turned into "Universities". The only positive outcome I can think of there is perhaps when Prime Ministers can spout about "over half of our young people are graduates", when they're pontificating at one of the many overseas junkets
they seem to enjoy attending at our expense. Yeah, right. But graduates in what?
(OK, don't ask).
Even blokes from the REME come out with MSc's these days, I notice. Fair Play to them. But "how come", I wonder? Are they any better than we
It's the New World Order, Neil. Control. And conditioning. Keeping the plebs happy (and in their place). That, and the Dumbing Down of the Masses! Innovators, original thinkers and Old Sweats (and vocational, practical, useful folk) need not apply. Especially those who have the temerity
to carry out the work of Graduates!
Thus your idea of certification (which we have discussed numerous times over the years!) is on the way. It just looks different from the model that you have been proposing.
Certification is fine, I'd just rather not have to spend my hard earned cash on an annual fee. Or spend time justifying my job by doing 'CPD' just so I can remain registered. Especially when said time could actually be used to DO my job.
If the system worked (which it currently doesn't), our yearly appraisals would be enough to show that we are doing our jobs effectively, and therefore can continue to do them for the next year. But hold on, isn't that how we were doing it in the first place?
Personally, I see the VRCT as a waste of time and money, and I've never met an engineer who didn't agree.
Brave New World, New World Order, Yesterdays men, dumbing down of the masses - it all sounds a bit doom and gloom to me.
It seems to me that there appears to be some hypothetical scenario whereby people believe that there are the people with degrees and MSc's, and then there are the guys and girls (techies) that have the experience and do the work.
Has anybody stopped to consider that there is another group. Those that started at the bottom of the pile, worked themselves up, gaining experience and qualifications along the way and ended up with degrees or MSc.
Qualifications and certifications are fine, whichever way you look at it. Pointless fighting against it - that's the way it is. If you disagree, it certainly doesn't make you one of yesterday's men.
I think the powers that be need to be careful that we dont end up with the guys in the none degree being thought of as some sort of 2nd class citizen. When in fact its far from it.
The other issue being that most dont / didnt have the option to go and do a degree. Whether it be funding related or because their lives dont have the time to do one or whatever.
The other problem is that there are guys out there who do have a degree but dont fit into a small group that is "recognised".
OK guys ... we're getting a bit away from the original post, but still on the well-aired topic of "VRCT" nevertheless.
But instead of constant "discussion" of the type we're so familiar with, how about another angle? Especially as, with talk of "grand-fathering" and all the rest ("my qualification [experience, CV et al
] is better than yours"), we seem to be harping on about the past, rather than laying plans for the future.
If Certification is going to happen regardless (one day, eventually) ... why doesn't someone sit down and do it right (now, there's
So, setting aside all the "historical baggage", preconceptions (misconceptions), arguments over EBME versus
Medical Physics (the revenge of the nerds), this degree or that ... and anything else which gets in the way ... why not look at what it is the biomed of the future will actually need to be able to do, and what skills will be needed to do the job. And then take steps to have suitable training in place. And then
(maybe) start thinking about adding names to a List.
That is, first things first, and proceeding in an orderly fashion.
But before all that, we may need to start by agreeing what it is the *Biomed Community is supposed to be doing now.
Let's aim to have it all ready for the year 2015.
* I just can't bring myself to use nonsense terms like "Clinical Technologist".
Quick some one take a screen shot
Now wait for the But
But (<-there it is), caved?
... in what way?
I was talking about the so-called "Fresh Audience" there, the Biomeds of the Future, the Fertile Young Minds ... not "Yesterday's Men" (and other choice phrases of the type I've had to suffer - on here, mostly - over recent years)!
You are happy for a group that you have no control over joining or not, are able to say you know what you are doing and be able to stop you from carrying out a role if they think you are not, because thats never come across in your previous posts.
The fundamental reason behind registration (Your first step)
or is the "but"
The hoops are not for the likes of the old guys Just for the new blood.
which could look like
The old dogs are too old to learn / need new tricks, or just to good and know all the tricks already.
Back to the topic (partially any way)
There are set criteria for eligability to the current VRCT and future RCT including a degree - but is this actually "or an equivalent level of education", using the degree as a measure indicating what is required.
However in the future I believe it will be compulsary. In the same way you would not want a doctor or nurse to have a similar level of experience. i.e. "I was a vet but I am sure I can manage with humans" but to be actually qualified in that field.
The reasoning being that if you were a vet and wanted to become a doctor you would have to start again from the beginning, with some allowance being made for EPL (Equivalent Prior Learning). The same is being applied to medical technologists (this is the term like it or not Geoff). If you want to change career you will have to get the qualification which includes the "piece of paper".
This is the future, our Lord and Master (Lady and Mistress) has spoken. Like it or live with it even if you disagree with it.
@Leon: sorry Mate, but you've lost me with that first bit (and I have
read it three times). I'll be happy to respond if you want to clarify what the point is you're trying to make.
But you're more or less right with that last bit:- regardless of what they may or may not already know, the Old Dogs are too old. Bearing in mind how long this VRCT has been going on already, there just aren't enough years left
@Robert: "change career"?
What, from Biomed Tech to "Clinical Technologist" you mean?
I see the Plan (Plot?) ... please forgive me for being so ... er, dumb (slow on the uptake, whatever).
Surely what is needed is what we might call "Career Pathways" (and properly thought-out ones at that) to suit all possible individual scenarios
and aimed at bringing everyone "up to standard".
After all, there is a great deal of difference between a New Entrant and someone like Neil out in Jeddah (for example). Don't tell me that a guy like Neil would be expected to "go back and start again" if he decided to return to the UK! (sorry, Neil)
Meanwhile:- Lords and Masters come, and Ladies (Baronesses?) and Mistresses go. In fact, they're almost two-a-penny.
From an electronics technician to a clinical engineering technologist for example.
PS When anyone saye "Sue Hill" I think of the classic way of calling pigs - and cannot get this out of my mind.
I suppose that the Good News about the VRCT is that "voluntary erasure" of a name from the Register will not only "wipe the slate clean" for the name concerned, but also avoid prosecution as well. You know, just like what happens with surgeons and others.
So much, then, for "protecting the patients".
Meanwhile, I hear that the long-awaited "League Table of Surgeons' Results" is due to be published (and, one presumes, maintained). So what's next, as far as we
are concerned:- "League Table of PM Completion"? Why not?
After all, if we cannot point to tangible improvements, what's the point in (constant) navel-gazing and re-organization?
Clinical Engineering Technologist, fancy title, but to me that describes someone that works on prostheses and not bio-medical equipment.
Do people on here think that if you have a fancy title you are going to get more respect.
I am about to apply for chartered engineer status. You know, an engineer, as in heating engineer or a automotive engineer. Tell me about names and titles.
Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do........ and I do not fancy the the other option.
From an electronics technician to a clinical engineering technologist for example.
And the difference is? All the principles are the same. It is not akin to a vet becoming a doctor as you referred to earlier.
Someone who has spent years maintaining a robot dog would not be stumped when given an infusion pump to fix. Electronics are electronics.
Try telling "the powers that be" that. I am not saying that I agree with what is happening, it is just that it is.
Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do...
I am about to apply for chartered engineer status.
Good luck with that one, Robert.
Notes from Memory Lane:- forty years ago REME so-called "commissioned warrant officers" (ex-senior technicians, armed, if they were lucky, with an HNC in Electronics - who were selected for officer rank) used to qualify for C.Eng. Just saying (as they say).
Continuing with the theme of stuff like "it's going to happen whether we like it or not" and "you'll get left behind if you don't conform" ... etc., etc.
(also known as pathetic defeatism and/or scaremongering) ...
OK, but hasn't this VRCT stuff been dragging on for something like ten years now? So ... has anyone been "left behind" yet?
Meanwhile, some of us are more interested in the practicalities
of the job. So ... does anyone have current information on what the educational (training) "requirements" are before any hapless soul shall be considered for his (her) name to be added to the Mighty VRCT?
In short, what routes are available (bearing in mind the various starting points from which techs may enter - or at least, used
to enter - the "trade")? Also, have such "requirements" been finalised now ... or are they likely to change in the foreseeable future?
And - rather more importantly - where is such training available?
In passing, I note that the questions posed at my recent posts to this thread remain unanswered.
But has the original post been answered?
I am still quite confused about the eligibility of signing up with the VRCT. I have seen on the VRCT website that certain courses are required so that you can register.
Would anyone care to précis
the "requirements" here?
There aren't many courses out there aimed at biomeds. But as I mentioned in my post on Modernising Scientific Careers they (MSC) are taking the lead on education & training. We had a student on workplace placement for 10 weeks who was on a Clinical Engineering course at Bradford Uni. We were amazed at the content of the degree, very basic electronics minimal computing. Loads of physiology & ethics. I had to introduce our student to the magic of Ohm's Law even though he had been studying Clinical Engineering for two terms by the time he came to us. He obviously learned more in the 10 weeks with us than six months at uni. The other notable thing to point out is that all of the students on this course came through clearing rather than being their first choice. The course was not oversubscribed either there were only 10 students on it of which two droped out before the end of the first year. I'll post a link to the course details if you want to have a look.
Sounds like they got the "mix" a bit screwed up there, then. What did the physiology side of things amount to, I wonder?
But to me the interesting question there is:- what would their first choice have been?
And ... that's a great, a load of students who "don't really want to be there". Hardly bodes well for the future, does it?
They (and we) would be better off with C&G Electronics Servicing ... plus a bit of "Anatomy and Physiology".
Here's a link
to the course. click on the modules tab to see what we have been missing out on
Good Luck to those students.
But why so many "pathways", I wonder? And why those?
What happened to "Anaesthesia", "Ventilation of the Lungs", "Clinical Laboratory" and "Medical Imaging" (including x-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound - not just the module [whatever that
comprises] shown within the Medical Engineering "Pathway")?
And, what's that ... three years to complete a one-year course? The infamous "Arborfield" course was only six-months. But the guys were already up to speed (in theory at least) in Ohm's Law and Maths by then, I grant you.
As I say, a practical course at C&G or ONC level would serve everyone far better as a "foundation" qualification for those who think that Biomed could be for them. Who knows, they might even find they like it, and go on to become useful techs!
As the designer of the Kingston FD in medical technology (medical equipment pathway), this course is based on the arborfield course format/subjects. A Two years distance learning course, with around 150 students passed and present and over a third of each course going onto join a Kingston Hon program for final year. Students ideally should be employed within the industry.
Original concept of the FD was for it to replace HNC/HND, a bit like an OU course in the workplace, but surprise surprise after 5 years the FD is dying out and it's head 'the foundation degree forward' now cut off...
I have yet to come across a better suited course set at the right level than the Arborfield Med and Dent course, a practical based course with a strict entry requirement .
Good input, Rob.
... to which I would add the remark that (presumably) the "Arborfield course" has had the benefit of being refined over the years; in light of experience, we might say. In other words, benefited from more or less continuous "feedback".
But you're saying that the Foundation Degree idea is dying? How come? And what was the thinking behind that "change of plan", I wonder?
"Strict entry requirement". Yes. Some of which came under the heading of "personal characteristics":- such as things like "resourcefulness" and "self-motivation" (IIRC).
Geoff, my soap box is out for a rant....www.hefce.ac.uk
under news and events gives detail of the rise and demise of the FD program's, this combined with removal of HEFCE funding from universities is in part the reason students now bare the brunt of student fees doubling. Degree program's have jumped up in cost to around 9 k per annum for 3 years minimum, dependent on the course. FD has doubled to 6 k per annum for two years and this is just two thirds of a degree program.
So any aspiring Ebme tech wishing to gain a degree (minimum qual level in the future VRCT take note), Better have deep pockets or look for another job.
Q why are the National occupational standards for the UK set at level 3 (ONC in old money), the very same minimum standards that courses in medical engineering should be set at for this type of work being undertaken,. Check out national occupational standards website, search for medical engineer....from these standards courses should be directly mapped.
NOS describe what the individual needs to do, know and understand in order to carry out a particular job, role or function. NOS are statements of performance as agreed by employers and other agreed stakeholders...
I'm sure someone will get around to informing employers in due course....
Thanks for that information, Rob.
I shall leave it to others to wade through this
are a couple
of the .pdf's (the content of which look pretty much OK to me).
Myself, I suspect that my overall impression remains correct:- that it is all very well that VRCT et al
is (or shall be) insisting on "raising the bar", but where are the opportunities for youngsters (or anyone else) to meet
I can't imagine there are too many young folk about who are so
convinced that they want to become biomeds that they will be willing to make commitments at the level mentioned. Surely young people (even if they knew what a "biomed" was at all) would be better advised to hedge their bets and think in terms (initially at least) of "electronics technician", or similar.
It seems to me that, once again, the young folk of Britain have been sold a pup (in being expected to make up their minds so early, with potentially disastrous financial consequences). At least "in my day" a bloke could pick up a decent technical training (yes, at the taxpayers' expense) in HM Forces.
It all really comes back to the same old question:- where is the so-called* NHS going to find the next wave of technicians, once the rapidly declining stock of Old Sweats have moved on?
I realised many years ago that this country is run by jackasses,
so I don't expect any logical response from the so-called "government" to our general need for (indigenous) technical manpower, so I won't be holding my breath on that one.
But it seems to me that for some time (years) now the lawyers who are "in charge" of our country have defaulted to the view that standards (and I mean standards in general there) can be improved solely by the threat of litigation. To which I reply:- [censored]!
* If it was a proper National Health Service, it would operate its own central training organisation, geared to National requirements.
Who writes this rubbish?
To service equipment you need to know about "BS7671/IEE wiring regs". IEC60601 anyone?
And for fault diagnosis you need to know "logic truth tables and Boolean algebra for AND, OR, NAND, NOR, NOT and EXCLUSIVE-OR gates". Hands up anyone who has fault found discrete logic circuits recently.
where is the so-called* NHS going to find the next wave of technicians, once the rapidly declining stock of Old Sweats have moved on?
I think that has been addressed by MSC - and is a total unworkable cock-up with no relavence to equipment servicing as it tries to address all "technologist" posts with one size fits all.
Can of worms duly opened up for debate.
Better ask Rob.
... furthermore, it rather begs the question (does it not?) about:- what criteria should
be included in those NOS documents?
Perhaps we could lay out a suggested list (for debate) here?
Meanwhile ... as far as MSC is concerned, maybe we had better leave that for Bill's thread
Once you lay out a suggested list, who is in authority to endorse it? Is there an 'Institute of Biomedical Engineers/Technicians' or as some like to call themselves clinical engineers. First and foremost the needs to be clear guidelines as to job titles and job descriptions, followed by educational requirements to attain the positions. A full working proposal should be forwarded by an authorized body to the Government (whichever section deals with these matters (education, work and pensions). Think it is time to wake-up and stop dreaming as today is my day off and I should be doing something more constructive, cleaning the house comes to mind.
There are the AfC Healcare Scientist job descriptions from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. These were written by a panel and endorsed by AfC and - actually - reflact various jobs at various levels quite well. However they are by nature fairly generic but do lay out necessary qualifications, skill levels and expected work practices.
Now all we have to do is use AfC as a guideline and stop offering jobs at a band lower.
Is AFC just for the NHS or does it encompass the whole of the UK, private and public?
You are right there it is just for NHS but it can be used as a template for other organisations and as a benchmark to compare like with like.
Private companies will not use AFC if it means paying increased salaries, college, university courses are not designed around AFC, therefore an industry standard needs to be created with an authorized body and educational courses to meet the standards.
First and foremost you need to establish "Biomedical Engineering" as a trade, much like a plumber, carpenter, electrician etc. Without that you are going nowhere.
Once you lay out a suggested list, who is in authority to endorse it?
That would be the NOS
After all, how many of these "Nationally Recognised Bodies" do we need? Having too many is part of the problem, and it's surely yet another case of "Less is More"!
Yes, there is
an "Institute of Biomedical Engineers/Technicians"* ... in your dreams, Neil.
* Actually, that would be nothing new, as there have already been so many - mainly in the US. Anyone else remember SBET?
Does the NOS recognize BME as a trade?, I agree less is more what is wrong with the creation of an 'Institute' remove all the others and form one organizational body.
How many (more) do we need?
And, no ... I am not a member.
See also the Engineering Council
and (possibly more interestingly) its "specs
" .pdf. As you will see, there is nothing of value that VRCT adds to that (those).
Meanwhile, stuff like this
is what the internet is for!
As I keep saying, Google
is your (our) friend!
The highest-paid 10% earned more than $70,260 a year
That is £43429 - mid band 8A. Are 10% of the UK on that salary?
I would have thought that the figure would have been higher than 10% on 43K or more!
OK guys (I know I may be a bit slow on the uptake, but ...), what are we talking about now?
Are we still talking about biomeds in the UK, or have we roamed off into the realms of society in general, or the world as a whole?
Hopefully, the remit of the VRCT doesn't yet include now plans to conquer the whole world!
@Robert: where did that quote come from, I wonder? I guess yo are looking at one of the links from the US ... where "different rules" apply when it comes to Terms and Conditions.
@Neil: even if it's as high as 50%, there are still millions of folk in general* "existing" on incomes of well under the Income Tax threshold (currently £ 8.1 k p.a.). Perhaps I had better make it clear that I'm talking about the UK here.
* Not to mention certain "unemployable" ["semi-retired" - whatever] freelance biomeds.
it came from your "this" link about BMET careers in the US.
Fair enough, Robert. But I had included that link for the "purposes of illustration" in an effort to remind folk that there is a "World of Biomed" outside the narrow confines of the likes of the VRCT (and, I dare say, AfC).
Some of the other links were included to try to establish some of the "definitions" of terms that get banded about under threads like this one. In other words, aiming to separate fact from fiction!
But if we want to start talking about salary levels (something that doesn't interest me overly much, I might say) then perhaps a new thread is warranted.
After all, we have good friends on the forum from all over the world, so perhaps it would make interesting reading, should they choose to participate.
@Neil: you can start us off, if you like!
Applications from job seekers who require Tier 2 sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications. However, non-EEA candidates may not be appointed if a suitably qualified, experienced and skilled EU/EEA candidate is available to take up the post as the employing body is unlikely, in these circumstances, to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test. The UK Border Agency requires employers to complete this test to show that no suitably qualified EEA or EU worker can fill the post. For further information please visit UK Border Agency website.
No chance of going down the "pathway" of selecting the best person for the job, then ... regardless of origin or "politics"?
No chance of going down the "pathway" of selecting the best person for the job, then ... regardless of origin or "politics"?
I think you'll find that's the standard declaimer after the UK use to let anybody into the country (usually low paid positions)only for them to be the first in line for the job centre when employment conditions in the UK got worse.
Have we stopped doing that now, then?
Meanwhile (and in case anyone was wondering), here is one of the many links available about the RLMT
. Or, if you prefer, something a bit more official
Also ... and turning back in the general direction of the topic ... I wonder what the VRCT has to say about possible "new membership" (registrants) from the EEA/EU?
Here you are, Chris:-
All migrants must be paid the appropriate salary rate, to ensure that the resident labour market is not undercut.
But ... just to be clear:-
Resident Labour Market:- the pool of workers who qualify as resident workers. A resident worker is a person who is a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or is legally settled in the United Kingdom with permission to work here.
European Economic Area (EEA):- consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.
So hopefully everyone on here shall now be in no doubt about where their next technicians are coming from.
I hope they have an approved Clinical Technology degree!
I'm sure these things can be arranged.
I am sure you can get one from an on-line US "university".
Upon hearing the exciting news that "CRB checks" have now become "DBS
checks" (and why not?) ... I am prompted to enquire:-
Does the VRCT process involve a "DBS check"?
And (if so):-
1) Does any
conviction result in rejection?
2) What about "cautions"?*
3) What happens when applicants are from "overseas"?
* You know, for dropping a sweet wrapper, or having your wheelie bin one inch out of line?
You'll find the answer in the link you supplied.
Regulators of professional registers like the GMC can make DBS checks and submit evidence to the DBS (actually the DBS has no investigatory powers at all)
The VRCT isn't on the DBS list of professional regulators so at the moment it doesn't have these powers or rights.
Also you've got the fact that a DBS check costs more than membership of the VRCT.
So yet again I find myself wondering:- what is the point of any of it?
I admit as well to being a little
disappointed that, despite these constant and on-going opportunities that we present on here, we rarely (if ever) hear from the VRCT leadership. Surely we are providing ample scope for them to reply, and actually try and sell
the thing to the UK biomed fraternity?