29 Lessons Learned in 29 Years of Being in the HTM Industry

Welcome to HTM on the line.

Fri Sep 23 2022By Bryant Hawkins Sr.

*Written script from podcast HTM on the Line*

Number 1 – Humility. Humility was one of the first lessons I learned in this industry.  When I completed the BMET program at Delgado Community College in 1993.  There was not a biomed job available in the entire city of New Orleans, LA.  I had to humble myself and take a job operating laparoscopic equipment & stocking the OR dept.  

Number 2 – Have a good support system. You need a cheerleader, mentor and a coach.  That cheerleader will keep you motivated. A good mentor will keep it real with you and tell you what you need to hear. A coach is that person who will guide you through a tough situation, to where you can come out successful. I have that support system in place up to this very day for work and more importantly for life outside work. 

Number 3 – Stop thinking I’m the victim.  Everything that happens to us is for us.  Most people will refuse to take responsibility for the circumstances that they are in.  Instead, they point the finger to make others feel guilty. How to fix this? Just know that whatever happens to you in a negative way, whether it’s an event, situation or a circumstance. All of this allows you, the victim, an opportunity for growth.

Number 4 – Giving unconditionally. If someone on the job is not treating you the way you treat them, continue to be a giver. It can be you giving of your time, knowledge or self. Continue to give all three. Giving without expectations is a necessity. It will benefit your department, client and organization you work for.

Number 5 - Failure is a blessing. Failure can define us or teach us. I may have learned the most in my biomed career by failing, then by succeeding. Failing is only a blessing, if you use it to add fire to your drive or passion.

Number 6 – What you are doing in the HTM industry today is important.  People like to say.  Back in the old days, things were so much better. We may think back then were the good old days, but right now is the best time to be in the HTM industry. There is a need for technicians everywhere, so the opportunity for growth is upon us. I’m looking forward to watching how this next generation will solve this staffing need.  But this will only be successful if we all are enjoying today and not dwelling on yesterday.

Number 7 – You must make yourself the best you can be. We can’t hope someone else is going to make you better. They may assist, but you must be the one. Just know it is not selfish to put yourself first, when you take time for yourself, you make everything around you better.

Number 8 – We must be open to learning from others. In the HTM industry with the way this industry is changing. Whether we have been in the industry for 30 plus years or 2 years. We must be open to learning from others. We can learn from coworkers, a lecture at a trade show, or social media.  

Number 9 – Forgiveness – Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.   We have all been there, where someone has rubbed us the wrong way.  For example, a call comes in at 4:00pm, instead of your coworker taking the call, he leaves it for the on-call tech, who has been gone since 3:15. That onsite tech gets off at 5:00pm.  On call tech comes back, the service call takes 10 minutes to solve.  You heated; how easy will you be to forgive that tech? We need to practice forgiveness.

Number 10 – Keep a positive mindset. Having a positive mindset, means that you are optimistic about the things around you, and you expect that good things will happen to you.

Number 11 – Be appreciative or show gratitude. This is the foundation for happiness. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, look at it as half full.  Working in the HTM industry, we have a job that contributes to saving lives. We should be appreciative and grateful we are in a position to do that.

Number 12 – You are imperfect.  Imperfect action shows people you are human. You will not do everything perfectly. The most imperfect thing you may do on the job, if corrected, will help you to be better at your job. 

Number 13 – Don’t ever stop learning.  Whether it’s on the job or in your personal life.  I love photography, I love music and now I’m getting into hosting a podcast.  Am I the greatest at them all, probably not?  But I’m always learning something about them.  Whether it's professional or personal, don’t ever stop learning.

Number 14 – Be honest with yourself. If you are not doing a great thing or your job, but you are doing your best. Be honest and accept that. I can personally tell you, I was on a job, and was doing my best, and it never seemed like I was doing enough. I was told, maybe this is just not a good fit for me. You know what, they were right. I was honest enough with myself to admit that. But I came out of that situation a better manager and better family member to my family. Being honest with yourself is the best gift you can give yourself in the HTM industry.

Number 15 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, this can apply to young technicians and old ones.  Asking for help builds connections by allowing others to share their information and resources and this in turn shows people that you trust their ideas, feel competent in their skills, and appreciate their advice. Asking for help allows for the possibility of fresh ideas and perhaps a new perspective on things.  

Number 16 - The end goal does matter. Do you know what the end goal is? An end goal is the main goal you set to finish at the end of a series of smaller goals. For example, I’m a new BMET I. Your end goal can be, in 5 years I want to be an Imaging Engineer.  Now you set smaller goals to lead up to that end goad. Small goals like being able to work on a variety of medical equipment in my first year.  Obtain some OEM training on certain equipment.  Since imaging is your goal, how about assisting the imaging engineer with some service calls. So, those mean goals, steps you need to take to get to your end goal.  

Number 17 – Stop overthinking. Self-explanatory.

Number 18 – Be an inspiration. Our story matters, I have shared my story with everyone, whether I have met within HTM or not. Just recently my story was published in Technation and AAMI news also published my story. If you can inspire one person from your story, then you are an awe-inspiring individual.  Everybody needs to be inspired.   

Number 19 – Life is supposed to be hard, in order to learn how to live. 

Number 20 – Action cures anxiety. If you are afraid you can’t learn how to repair or fix a piece of equipment? Take some type of action, that can be you stopping and just going take a walk, clearing your mind or doing some breathing exercises, or simply asking for help. Just know, action will rid the anxiety.

Number 21 – No one else can make you happy in the HTM industry. You need to take charge of your own professional and personal development. Your job will assist, but you have to take control. Then you will be happy.

Number 22 – Learn from this young generation of HTM professionals. We are living in the age of technology and guess what? The young ones have been dealing with it, almost since birth.  Don’t be afraid to learn from them.

Number 23 – Treat others the way you treat yourself.  I pride myself on treating any BMET I, I come across with an enormous sense of gratitude. I know how it is to start in a profession and feel inadequate. So, I make sure to make them feel welcomed and that I’m glad you are part of the team. Which is how we would want to be treated.

Number 24 – People will lie. Some people will lie to keep their image up, to protect someone else's feelings, to avoid conflict, but the most popular reason is probably to impress people and boost their reputation.

Number 25 - You can’t change people. People can only change themselves, you can’t.  I think we all know this quote: You can’t change people, but you can change the people you are around.

Number 26 – Time is our most valuable asset. Use it wisely.

Number 27 – Don’t allow yourself not to control who you are supposed to be. You write your own story of what your career will be like in the HTM profession.

Number 28 – We are exactly where we are supposed to be. Our actions led us to where we are. If we are not able to progress in the HTM industry, take a look at that person in the mirror. We can’t become a manager or imaging engineer, look in the mirror. If you are not happy with your career in the HTM industry, do something about it.  Because with any effort being utilized, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Number 29 - Change is inevitable, it’s a matter of how you react to it. It will destroy you or make you. I have been part of a company acquisition, where one company comes in and purchases the company you work for. I have changed companies and I have changed positions within a company. How you react to those changes will make you or break you. Always prepare yourself mentally for change, because it's not if, but when.  

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