Diversity in the Biomed Shop

Feb 19, 2024


Mon, Feb 19, 2024 10:29AM • 32:30


technicians, biomed, females, htm, clinical, working, hospital, engineering, managers, employees, shawn, career, put, repair, leader, shop, pms, important, experience, engineer


Chyrill Sandrini, Shawn Molloy

Chyrill Sandrini  00:13

Welcome back to HTM insider, I’m glad you joined us again today. I’m Chyrill with MultiMedical Systems. And today we have Shawn with TRIMEDIX. Shawn has been in the business for a very long time. And he’s a leader in the industry. So we’re so happy to have him on today. We’re gonna be talking today about how to train those new employees as new BMETs when you get them in your shop. And then again, how can we maybe entice, and work with females in the industry that are joining the beam at HTM culture? And how can we retain them as valuable employees as well? So Shawn, thanks for coming on today. Absolutely.

Shawn Molloy  00:51

It’s a pleasure to be here and and not working outside in the cold. I will say that. Yeah,


I imagine you have some cold weather there. 


We do, we do. Negative three in wind chills of negative 20 here in Chicago. So we’re looking forward to breaking freezing next week.


Wow. Well, why don’t you tell us about yourself in case somebody doesn’t know you like, where you’re at? What you’ve done your history? 


Yeah, absolutely. I am a lifelong clinical engineering tech. I’ve been in the industry now for 20 plus years. I actually I love telling my my story about how I became an engineer because I grew up in a small farmer, country town in Ohio. My dad was fire chief, I became a firefighter. And I wanted to actually be an FBI agent. I was going to Ohio University as with criminal justice, and I decided I was going to join the military to just get some federal service and become the FBI agent. Well, what occurred was I joined the Army and they put me into equipment repair, medical equipment repair, because I really didn’t care what I did. And I ended up having a knack for equipment repair. I graduated the top of my class with the DoD medical equipment training school, and went on with a military career of repairing medical equipment here in the States. And also in Iraq. I then became a recruiter and became a supply sergeant for a Engineering Command here in Darien, Illinois. And I was actually 12 years in to a military career in slightly my last contract. And I had applied to Edward hospital, to become an engineer, went through the interview, didn’t hear anything, swore in to my last eight years of the United States Army. And the day after I re-enlisted, Edward hospital called me and said, would he like to offer you a job? I told him, I couldn’t do it. I had a federal contract. And that was soon as I hung up the phone, our administrative sergeant came in and said Sergeant Malloy, we put the wrong social security number on every page of the contract, it’s completely void. Would you resign? And I give me a minute, and I called Edward hospital and I said, Can you guarantee me that I’m going to have this position and be back into clinical engineering? And they said, Yes. And that moment, I left the military and started in Edward hospital with clinical engineering again, and since then, it’s been an amazing ride. And now I find myself as Director of Clinical Engineering here at the University of Chicago for TRIMEDIX.


You know, that’s a great story. Wow. You know, you had your your eyes set on one goal, and then now you’re in healthcare, technology management. That’s an awesome story, Shawn. Yes. So I love the history that you bring and the different experiences that you bring to the industry. I want to know more about when you bring in someone to any facility, whether it’s to be a traveling tech for Thai medics, or maybe it’s a a hospital setting. You know, we’re really struggling right now. We have a lot of schools that these students might not be getting all the hands on experience as traditional schools were a long time ago, because we need more bio meds. I mean, we got to get these, get these guys on the street, right? How do you how do you retain them? What’s the plan?

Shawn Molloy  04:47

So the first challenge is trying to find the biomedicine and we you know, as we find ourselves whether it’s in rural Minnesota, where you know, it’s small town, small town population, not a big technical, technical background or we’re in South Side Chicago, where you know, transit’s a little more difficult. You’ve got to really open your eyes to being more than I’m looking for the guy who’s got 10 years of experience, right, in Biomedical Engineering, because that it just doesn’t exist anymore. Okay, those are really unicorns that we’re looking for. What we did is started expanding the career fields that we were looking for, we started partnering with the DoD. And in looking for, you know, not just the engineers who went through the DoD program, but also you know, radio repair men, your flight repair, partnering with your career counselors, at your reserve centers for National Guard, Air Force, Navy, and army is an excellent resource to pull in technicians, because what you’ve got is somebody who’s got technical training with the government. They’re back, they’re doing their one weekend, a month. But you know, when they left, they were working at McDonald’s, they were working at a grocery store, and now they have this new talent. And they want to get into something. And that’s what happened in my career, I started off in the reserves, I was a manager at McDonald’s. And when I came back, I was working at McDonald’s. And I’m like, You know what, I can do so much more. And I got the opportunity to start working at a hospital and I didn’t stop from there. Now, I do understand that as a leader, we have smaller hospitals who really don’t have the bandwidth to take on a lot of just out of college, no experienced bio meds. So the larger organizations who have 10, 20, 30 employees, we need to understand our role within the career field as a conduit into this career field to create those experienced and educated technicians. And you need to be able to take that risk of bringing on a new technician and then having a plan to develop that technician.

Chyrill Sandrini  07:14

Yeah, Is yours a written plan? Do you guys actually have some type of SOP that you follow?


Yes. So try medics actually started a TRIMEDIX training program, where they, you know, brand new biomed will actually go through the USOC training, they’ll go through the biomed university training over a two year period to develop those general biomed skills. Now, one thing that I also, you know, really implement to my managers is preventive maintenance is the best media for a new engineer to work with, right? Everybody thinks that you just take the engineer and you put them on beds, you put them on comps, and then they’re stuck there for a little while. And they’ll learn time management and everything else. But nothing allows you to really get good experience with general biomed equipment than doing preventive maintenance. Now, if you’re doing preventive maintenance on defense, electrical surgical analyzers, all that general biomed stuff, you’re seeing how it works, you’re seeing why it works that way, when it comes to actually getting a repair work order, you’ll be able to, you know, know, what is it supposed to be doing? Right? And the other the other good thing to that is it provides relief to your experienced biomeds. They’re no longer doing PMs on general biomed they’re focused on repairs. And it’s it’s a kind of symbiotic relationship.


Do you find it still hard in some shops that you’ve had experience with? is, you know, the, how can I say the culture when new biomeds come in? Right? It is it is I’m an effort and patience and kindness. How do you deal with that?


You know why you’re just number one, we have to be authentic with with each other. And we need to understand that we have different personalities. I mean, what an interesting field clinical engineering is in the different personalities and characters that we have in clinical engineering, right? If I could, you know, you know that we have so many different types of characters and they have value and they have talent, but you know, as a leader, how to utilize those talents, right? And so, when you add the generation gap to that, right, there’s, you have to as a manager, kind of be that bridge between, you can’t be one side or the other. You have to be hip and you have to be old fast. You’re right, you have to realize that our older technicians and our more experienced technicians, they want to stay relevant. They want to stay relevant because nobody wants to fall behind. And with the idea of AI in applications and everything, that’s the new microprocessor, right? That’s the new modulated non component troubleshooting. And there’s a big gap there. Right, with our new technicians coming in, they’re much more, you know, you know, educated and experienced with smart devices as we move everything to our phones to do work orders. And so as much as the older generation experience generation has something to provide the newer, the newer has something to provide the more experienced technicians, and it is the leadership’s responsibility to create an environment where those kinds of trades can occur.


You know, Shawn, you hit it on the nose, you said the generation gap, having a daughter who started in the field at the age of 22. And the next biomed was 42. And a very large shop, and she was the only female, which is something we’re going to talk about today, too. But you talk about a difficult road, you know, and I felt for her, and you want your, your young person, you know, whether they’re your employee or your child to succeed, not hold their hand too much. But let them learn at a rate that they’re comfortable with learning and we don’t want to scare them away. Right?

Shawn Molloy  11:37

And then ultimately, it’s it is your we remember from being young biomed, that it’s already a scary environment, right? Your decisions, your actions have circumstances. And now you’re even more worried about how how someone’s going to view you, if you ask too many questions. Or if you make a mistake, they’re going to think you’re incompetent, right? But that’s not true. We’ve been there, right? We’ve been there, we know that this career field is 75% experience 75% experience. So you know, to re emphasize with the younger technicians, you need to ask questions you need to know that you don’t know and that you need to absorb as much information as possible and not try to do it on your own.

Chyrill Sandrini  12:33

And that’s, you know, I think that’s where mentorship comes in. And we need to all be more open to being mentors. Matter of fact that the conference at CMIA this week, we kind of started a asked me to be your mentor, where a button, and just so they can engage in that conversation because it is intimidating for young biomed to walk up to you yourself and ask you for advice or help me with career planning. So just trying through this podcast and through little initiatives that way to be able to help, I guess, maybe focus some energy on not only bringing them in but retaining them.

Shawn Molloy  13:16

So how do you retain somebody? Okay, number one, you have to let them know they have value, they have to feel like they have value, they have to feel comfortable. Okay. And you have to really kind of put yourself in their shoes, are they comfortable to ask questions? Are you being interactive enough to where you’re providing them every possible avenue to ask questions and be comfortable to share if they’re having problems? Okay, that comes to one on ones that comes to open door policies. And it comes to being responsive, responsive to emails responsive to message and we talked about the generation gap, right? You got to be able to respond to everything, emails, text messages, messenger, you know, all of that you have to be responsive as a leader, those are all areas of communication. Okay. And you have to be, you know, able to, you know, when we had emails we had, you know, in that in that was newer, you have to be careful about how you came off in emails, right. And now there’s text messaging, right? Is it you know, is it professional to put in a emoji and text? You know, some people might say no, but that’s the way people communicate today. You know, so can you communicate feelings and comfort and emoji, right, but you also have to be careful because there’s ways of misinterpreting So number one, opening up communication number two, investing in the technician, are you setting goals? Are you utilizing tools to ensure that they increase their value to the hospital to the company into the career field? field that comes from making sure they get manufacturer training that makes that comes to making sure that they get exposure and experience. And some of that falls on the management. Some of that also comes back to the engineer, you know, I know a lot of times we talk about, hey, manufacturer training, you know, you know, we either have it or we don’t, sometimes budgets get tight. But one thing I always like to focus on is, as a leader, you should be well rounded on all the benefits that your employees have to them. So for example, you know, tuition assistance, if there’s tuition assistance, why aren’t we talking to our technicians about how to make sure they utilize that regardless, if they’re going for a degree, to improve their knowledge, you know, I’m a lifetime learner. So every every year, I max out my tuition assistance by taking college courses, I’ve got a degree in electronic engineering, I have now wrapping up a degree in hospital administration. And I’ll be moving on to get a degree in AI. Right. So making sure your technicians have an annual goal, to utilize that tuition to go to manufacturer training, and to learn something new, you know, those are what those annual goals should be annual goal should be operational to where we set matrix for them to meet pm completion and so forth. But you should always have two to three developmental goals that are leading that technician to promotion.

Chyrill Sandrini  16:38

And I think that shows that you’re invested in them. 100%,

Shawn Molloy  16:42

right. Yes, there’s several ways to show investment. One of those is you’re putting in time, you’re showing that you have an interest in their success. And part of it’s talking to them to understand what success means to them. Right? We all are driven by different things. We all hire the person right out of college, who, you know, the moment they’re hired as biomed. One they want to be biomed. Three, right? Well, do we have the conversation with them to say, well, you know, this is the path and these are the goals and timelines that you need to hit to get there. Right. If they know that, then we’re not going to be having a conversation in three months about why am I not BMET 2, they have to have an understanding, and those one on ones with technicians are very important to get that done.

Chyrill Sandrini  17:34

I think that that shows accountability as well. 100%.

Shawn Molloy  17:39

It shows accountability and leadership. But it also shows that it’s accountability of the technician, you know, if there’s one thing that technicians don’t want, and managers don’t want, it’s micromanagement. You know, technicians don’t want to be micromanage. And managers don’t want to micromanage. Because when you get in large enough shops, it’s impossible. 

Chyrill Sandrini  18:01

Yeah, and 100%. And I do think it’s very powerful for managers, to have those one on ones to even know the personal side of their employees. Because that can be advantageous or be a disadvantage, depending on where they’re at in their life and what’s going on, just to have that concern, empathy, sympathy for whatever they might be going through 100%.

Shawn Molloy  18:24

And, you know, I share a story here, from when I was when I was a manager at a undisclosed location where I had a senior technician had been with the organization for a long time. And we were noticing some documentation issues. So at a one on one event, I you know, it was getting to the point of some formal counseling, and I had a formal document printed up. And when talking to them, I identified that they were having some vision problems, they were having some memory problems, and instead of going the formal direction, I actually referred them to, you know, hey, why don’t you go get a medical evaluation? Okay? Just it’s been a while, go get yourself checked out. Right? Because of that conversation the next day that that technician was actually in the or undergoing brain surgery. They had identified a tumor, and luckily, that technician because of that was in recovery and back to work in less than a month. And it was amazing, because we had the old technician back again, right. So you know, you may think that having that personal touch and understanding what’s going on in your technicians life. It really does have a big impact. And I would say 90 90% of the formal counseling things are a result of not knowing what was going on with a technician and they were trying to handle something on their own then they make a decision, right? Yep.

Chyrill Sandrini  20:04

Now, I know we kind of talked briefly about this before, but give praise where praise is due. Right giving praise. Oh, saying thank you. And I appreciate you those words of affirmation, I think are right. Big tools and in the managers toolbox, right?

Shawn Molloy  20:23

They they are huge. They are huge. People want to be valued people, even your best, who know their their best want to hear it. Okay. It’s important also for you to take a moment as as always in clinical engineering, it’s moving forward, moving forward, this is fixed, what’s next right next month, you know, PMs completed, let’s go to next month. It’s important as a leader to take a moment, pause, look back, and recognize everything someone is doing. Sometimes it’s as easy as a thank you. Sometimes it’s as easy as, Hey, let’s go grab a coffee, or let me pay for your watch. Right? That is severely important for you to recognize technicians. Now, I’m going to play the other side of this this coin, because a lot of time recognition is a very easy thing. It feels good, right? It feels good, because you’re able to recognize people. But on the same side of the coin, you have to hold people accountable. Okay, if you have a technician who is not doing the right thing, as much as it’s important to recognize those who are it’s important to hold the person who is not accountable. Now, there’s two reasons. A few reasons for that, number one, we always do that to try to correct the issue. Right? And if not, if it doesn’t, correct, there’s a process for that. But as we know, in any clinical engineering shop, in any organization, there’s a lot of eyes. And if they see a technician who’s not doing something and getting away with it, that is an engagement issue. If you look at any engagement survey, it says Do you feel people are held accountable for their actions? Okay, if they’re not held accountable, and we don’t have to publicize it, right, but people know, then you can have dissatisfaction within the shop. Okay. It’s difficult for a manager to write somebody up or to you know, really counsel somebody, because they may have horrid pm completion, but they’re incredible repairment Our job is to make them better. Right. And that’s the purpose of counseling. And that’s the purpose of accountability. So yes, 100% recognition, we actually I’m a big office fan, the office, so we do done to yours. So yeah, we’ve done the awards. But it is very important to recognize and it is never beyond me to you know, come down to a shop and, you know, walk around, see your people at least once a week, you know, that’s, that’s another thing Chyrill is with, you know, coming out of the COVID period, a lot of people are working continuing to work remotely, we’re definitely not going as you know, on site as we used to. But I always talk about proximity, okay, proximity to your employees is very important. This is nice that we can do remote and it can be very productive. But you will find that if you do not have proper proximity to your work group and to your employees, you’re going to oversimplify the problem. Okay. I don’t understand why these guys can’t just do the PMs, right. You’re on something you are working with them, you might understand that there’s better problems. So it’s important to maintain a proper proximity.

Chyrill Sandrini  23:52

That’s a great point. You know, I had a guest on earlier and circle. And we talked about, you know, KPIs, we also talked about wins and woes. Right? You get a lot of feedback. If you just ask for it, even ask for it. You know, anonymous anonymously, exactly. And then we can address it as a team, and how can we be better as a team? I think people like working in teams and working face to face. We all went home or within their own thing. biomed we’re still in the hospital. But overall, I think people like to be in close proximity with one another and that’s how they bond as a team.

Shawn Molloy  24:35

They do. Absolutely, absolutely. Now,

Chyrill Sandrini  24:38

let’s move on to with the rest of our time today. What are you seeing with females in the industry from your perspective? I mean, I just I just love, so I’m a fan girl of many out there and watching them come up in the industry. What is your perspective?

Shawn Molloy  24:56

I am always excited when I Interview a female applicant? I, I know the talent and the positiveness that adding females to the or or to the clinical engineering shop provide, right. I remember back when I was in the military and was actually training in the military, believe it or not, females would always do veteran marksmanship, females would always do veteran marksmanship. It’s because they didn’t come with any bad habits. You know, they were completely trained in marksmanship with the United States military, and they didn’t have the old Kentucky windage that we teach out in the Midwest, right. So that actually holds true with clinical engineering, I have a few Professor friends in the clinical engineering education system. And they say, You know what, Shawn, females always score better. As students, he goes, but you know, the difference I see between a male and a female student comes down to confidence, confidence, females are always much more careful than male students are in sometimes that’s a way better thing. Right? But, but we can understand that when we’re looking at a, it’s a very interesting thing, we have a male dominated department in a female dominated medical field, right? So why, you know, being a female not only opens you up to several areas in the hospital, where sometimes males are not as welcome, as females would be now labor and delivery, women’s health, you know, ob Guinee, those kinds of places. But females have a better, often a better problem solving, a much more involved in detail, troubleshooting technique. But the one thing that I the piece of advice that I can offer females is be genuine, be genuine, don’t change yourself, once you get into the clinical engineering shop. Because there’s a reason why you were hired, there was a reason why you were hired, and it’s because of who you are, what you bring to this organization. So don’t think you know, when we talk about, don’t be afraid to ask, you don’t think that you’re going to be viewed a certain way. You know, what leaders want is what you bring to the table. So be you be genuine. And that is how you can be successful.

Chyrill Sandrini  27:49

Yeah, I think that’s true for everybody is to be you know, authentic and be genuine. And if you’re a female coming into an all male shop, you know, embrace it. 100%, right, and you don’t have to become like a man to be an all male. Never,

Shawn Molloy  28:05

and don’t, you know, don’t just put up with things, right, we all have to evolve, we all have to evolve. So if there’s something happening, that is uncomfortable or unprofessional, we have to evolve, right? And we have to have a conversation about that. And those things need to be addressed. And leadership needs to be an advocate of that. I’m you know, a lot of organizations are coming out with a groups celebrating women in health care, or the LGBTQ or veterans are so forth. It’s important for leadership to be a member of that. I’m a member of all of our advocacy groups. And I attend because I want to understand it and be an advocate for everything. And we need to provide that kind of environment in our organization.

Chyrill Sandrini  29:00

Yeah, that’s so important. In a try to balance on a shim Insider. I think listeners will agree, you know, I’m always looking for a strong female to be the face of htm and I think it’s important as women in the industry that we do stand up and take these opportunities so we can not only engage with our fellow colleagues in the HTM industry, but also reach the other females out there that are looking for an amazing career field.

Shawn Molloy  29:32

And I gotta tell you, I have it’s, it’s always been an excellent addition to my team. The but the the one of the reasons why, and I can totally understand why someone you know, a brand new employee might be a little guarded when they come in and I can understand why a female might even be a little more guarded. But when I hire them, I see something and just to say, hey, You know, bring what you’re bringing to the group. Don’t let the group change you. You change the group. That’s the reason I’m adding. Yeah,

Chyrill Sandrini  30:08

I agree. You know, I could talk to you for hours, Shawn, I love your outlook, your perspective how positive you are. And you’re a great leader in this htm industry. So again, thank you for coming on. I appreciate that. Now, we always close htm insider with your WOW, your word or words of wisdom. What do you have for us ation, self

Shawn Molloy  30:30

investment. Self investment is my word. I have, you know, 30 minutes on my calendar every single day, developed to self investment where I do some research on Google or something on how to do something better. And it’s a it’s a rock when we talk about rock stones and sands, right? If you took 30 minutes a day, 365 days a year to in to improve yourself. Imagine what you’d be capable of. Right? So if I could push anything out, it’s self investment. And that comes down to self care. Okay, you have to take care of yourself, okay. self care is not a privilege. It’s a necessity. Take care of yourself so you can be the best you that you can be.

Chyrill Sandrini  31:21

I love it, Shawn, and really appreciate you coming on again today and sharing this and I’m sure if somebody has more questions, I know that you’d be available to reach out or or mentor at any time to help anyone advance in this career field. 100%

Shawn Molloy  31:36

communicate with me through LinkedIn emails, through anything, I’m always available and happy to share.

Chyrill Sandrini  31:43

Thanks, Shawn. And thank you guys for tuning in again to another episode of htm Insider. I encourage you to listen through tech nation if you are looking for those CE credits because each episode of htm insider that you view on tech nation, it is worth one CE credit. So you could spend your lunch and pick up one of those continuing education credits to add to your resume. So thanks again, Shawn. And you guys have any questions for me? You know, I’m available LinkedIn and email. And we’re always looking for amazing guests if you have any ideas to send in my way. Thank you and bye bye