Tim Cordes and Shane Cooper

May 4, 2023


tim, program, biomed, htm, shane, internship, hr, industry, retired, opportunity, students, career fairs, kids, give, association, talk, field, perioperative, job shadowing, part


Shane Cooper, Chyrill Sandrini, Tim Cordes

Chyrill Sandrini  00:14

Hello and welcome back to HTM Insider. My name is Chyrill. I’m the host of HTM Insider, provided to you by MultiMedical Systems. Today, I’m super excited to get back into 2023. And I have some very special guest on today. They are at the University of Kansas Health System. And we’re gonna be talking about that HTM pipeline, you know that evergreen thought idea motion that we’re all in is trying to recruit biomeds, so today I want to introduce you and let them introduce themselves. First, let’s start with Tim. Tim, would you like to introduce yourself?

Tim Cordes  00:55

Sure, Chyrill, again, thank you for doing this. I think this is a great opportunity for us in the field to be heard and, and some great information comes out of these. So my name is Tim Cordes. I’ve been I’ve been a BMETsince the mid 80s. And recently retired and then came back so

Chyrill Sandrini  01:17

it looks like you’re working now.

Tim Cordes  01:18

I had kind of a special opportunity and Shane was kind of have to, to go through all the hoops to bring me back in for a little bit. So. So yeah, we’re working that out. But for the most part, I’ve worked mostly in the hospital environments to different hospitals in one ISO.

Chyrill Sandrini  01:42

Very good. And Shane, what about you? Well, first of all, let’s talk you must be a chiefs fan. 

Shane Cooper  01:48

I am I am.

Chyrill Sandrini  01:52

Congratulations on that Super Bowl win. 

Shane Cooper  01:54

Yeah, I speak for the whole Chief’s Kingdom there. So My name is Shane Cooper, I’ve been in biomed for roughly 14 years coming up on 14 years now. I was a general biomed. And I had an opportunity to walk over to the perioperative realm. And I’ve been here ever since. And I currently am a perioperative clinical engineering manager. And I’m green to that. And that’s why I wanted to bring Tim on board as well. So you guys can get the perspective of past, present and future and kind of what he’s been doing in the field and how I want to carry on the torch.

Chyrill Sandrini  02:38

Yeah, I like that, you know, our attrition rate in the HTM industry, coming to the end of 2023 is kind of bleak, right? And I understand that, Tim, you may have been instrumental and providing some type of legwork in that pipeline that we talked about bringing in the interest, and the energy into the BMET life, which is so unknown to so many people. So I want to stop there, Tim is how have you successfully brought together a pipeline? 

Tim Cordes  03:19

Well, I think success has yet to be measured, but it has a good start. I think I really have to give credit to a lot of people that came before me looking at the work that AAMI’s done the work that Tech Nation and that you’ve done in helping give us out in the field ideas of how to how to go about this. And I don’t know I have a friend that always said I treasured this. The saying of let’s let’s copy off the smart kid, right. So I’ve been real fortunate to know a lot of folks here and in the area. HTM directors, technicians. And so as we kind of got together, we could see what was happening, you know, it became sort of a game of musical chairs is who’s left with the with the vacancy. And we watched that actually happen within several hospitals here in town. And as we were getting together and talking about that we thought this is just awful. This is awful for everybody in and we needed to have a collective effort in order to put a stop to this or not let this happen again, because it really does nobody any good. So with that we started seeing information, I started seeing information about you know, trying to partner up with with community colleges. And of course with the closing a lot of the biomed schools were scrambling to find one that was relatively close to Kansas City. So we found one in mid Missouri So, in a nutshell, we sat down with both of those organizations, the Community College, Johnson County Community College, and state Tech College of Missouri. And with some of these htm directors, we started exploring how can we make this work? And so we kind of came up with an outline where they could use the online programs from State DEC, coupled with the electronics technology program in existence, and at least have a path. And so at that point, then it’s let’s get it out there. I think one of the key things to it was you have to get on these advisory boards, you have to have some input to these to these things. And then on the flip side, I think that gives the organization’s academic organizations it shows that you’re committed, right? If you’re gonna take the time to be involved in, then we’ll take the time to help promote this. So that’s kind of where it started.

Chyrill Sandrini  06:04

So what is your role there? If you’re an advisor is bringing potential biomed into your hospital key to that, let them see what they’re going to do? Or how you getting them to enroll in the program? That’s kind of a two fold. But so that’s part of the challenge, right? 

Tim Cordes  06:25

It most certainly is. What we started with was attending some of the career fairs that the colleges typically have. One of the things that we’re learning as we go with this is, a lot of times at the career fairs, you know, those those kids are looking for jobs, right, they’ve almost finished their their educational training. And so it quickly became clear to us that we need to get in the, at the first years and in fact, get down to the high school level, really, because so many kids are making these decisions so early in life, you got to get it in front of them when they are in that and that decision making process.

Chyrill Sandrini  07:06

So, Shane, I know it’s, you know, with credentialing in this industry. I know, there’s other ways that we have barriers that maybe not in the biomed. department, but maybe with HR, have you figured out a way to deal with that, and what have been your experience. 

Shane Cooper  07:26

So as far as barriers go, you know, specific to HR, what we’ve encountered is, you know, not only have we just stumbled upon this career field, but HR doesn’t really know how to recruit for it either. And so you have to be very specific in your request. And you know, it has to be collaborative effort, you have to be on the same wavelength. And that goes for really, you’re customizing your talent engagement, and modernizing that internet traffic. So including your search queries, be specific in your searchable words, you know, don’t be afraid to if you can, if you have the backing and support from your HR, reach out to a sourcing agency that can help you, because that’s their forte. And really just make sure you have targeted sourcing, to ensure the platforms that you post are on are fruitful. And they have all sorts of technology that can assist with that. So, you know, in that we were able to offer relocation bonuses. So we started looking at not only locally but you know, regional talent, national and even international talent. So, but other than that, you know, we went in as far as publishing or pay scales, to start, you know, increasing that foot traffic through there. So and then also don’t be afraid to source military to civilian transition agencies as well. Right talent there. Right. 

Chyrill Sandrini  09:03

I agree. I agree. You know, sometimes I feel like we should be a tick tock experts and to snippets TikTok to reach the younger generation, right? Maybe that’s HR needs to really look into that social aspect. Yeah, we do that a lot of MMS, right, because we understand that that is really the platform that everyone’s looking for their their news for their nation for their for their jobs, right. 

Shane Cooper  09:27

Yep. And what we’ve also done to segue in that is we’ve started making videos in you know, simple troubleshooting techniques or, you know, issues that we stumbled upon. We will post videos and just so students and the younger generations have some insight as to what our career field was all about.

Chyrill Sandrini  09:49

I agree 100% I think you’d need to have Tim do a TikTok

Shane Cooper  09:54

that I would pay to see

Tim Cordes  09:58

That may be a stretch!

Chyrill Sandrini  10:02

I think you think it’d be great, Tim? Yeah, that’s great insight. And a great reminder, Shane, to our to our audience here is really collaborating with HR, on the efforts for recruitment of biometrics and interest in the career field. I like it. Yeah. 

Tim Cordes  10:21

There’s one other aspect I think that Shane experienced, well, we both experienced, but shame bore the brunt of this was, you know, not having a part time position in in the job description already set up. And it had gone through HR and gone all that we, we probably experienced a couple of months of delay, while it went through all of that. And so what I would say to current HR, htm directors is, don’t wait, don’t wait till you retire, he’s gone. Right? That could potentially even avoid having to go through all of the typical HR testing and everything else as you come in the door. If you could transition out and into one of those part time positions versus actually retiring and coming back in, yeah, it was a couple of months. So Shane, and all of my counterparts are going through, you know, a lot of well, trying to cover, you know, with short people. And that’s hard. It’s really hard. 

Chyrill Sandrini  11:30

Well, Tim, when you’re no longer, you know, needed it at Kansas there. And Shane, you know, is fully staffed. MMS has a new home for you, we will hire you. Part time, contract jobs. Just give me a call. We’ll certainly keep that in mind. And so how did you get into the industry? How did you find what healthcare technology management is all about? 

Shane Cooper  11:54

I fell into it. Originally, I thought I was going into manufacturing and a position became available. I said, What’s that? And I never turned back. So I love it. It’s very rewarding career field. And so I just hope to spread the word. But I think that’s a very similar case to many, many technicians out there, they stumbled across it. No one knew about this industry. So that’s partly what we’re trying to do is, as Tim was saying, get up in front of these kids early, you know, before that decision has already been made. 

Chyrill Sandrini  12:28

Now, how many biomeds do you guys have in your shop currently across the enterprise? 

Shane Cooper  12:34

So we’re a unique group in that we are strictly perioperative services. So we report to perioperative services. So we’re essentially OR biomeds, and we serve in that purpose. But with our group, it’s it’s roughly five. So, you know, I was able to to convince and coerce Tim back out of retirement. So graciously accepted. And he’s helped us fill that void and serve as a stopgap and so we can get everyone trained up and and where we need to be. 

Chyrill Sandrini  13:07

That’s awesome. Are you working full time, Tim?

Tim Cordes  13:10

Nope. Just part time. I was fortunate enough that Shane, let me kind of dictate what, where and when that I’m working. And it, Well, fortunately, it kind of worked out for him. So it was a it was a win win for both of us. So yeah, 

Chyrill Sandrini  13:26

That’s awesome. And I really think that is a line of it’s a resource to bring people back into the industry just because of the attrition rate and you’re losing such great talent. But people like Tim retired. So I imagine you’re walking around with the shirt on the QR code that says, asked me what a BMET is.

Tim Cordes  13:51

No, that’s not a bad idea. Yeah, I’m good. I’m good think one of the things that we did, we were fortunate, a year ago or so to have one of the HTM mixers here in Kansas City. And so one of the things that we had an idea to do was, let’s invite some of the kids to this, right? Let’s bring them in and let them walk through with the vendors. And it’s a great chance to learn about equipment, that type of you know that you work on that stuff that you use, chance to talk to BMETs. And so that was kind of fun, you know that because they the kids had a blast, right, running through the vendor area, of course getting all the swag and that kind of thing. But they were really good about attending classes, you could tell they were paying attention. And so have we seen anything come out of that yet? Not yet. But I think it’s one of those you know, you just keep fishing right? And you get that bite so

Chyrill Sandrini  14:53

I completely understand I have a young biomed daughter myself, who’s a product of COVID, It wasn’t the answer for her. And she’s thriving in the industry now, a year and a half later. Yeah. Yeah. You know, so what do you think that the gap is going to be from the attrition to bringing on let’s say, high school students? How are we going to fill that gap that’s going to, I think, going to be a two to three year period, of even more of a decline in the resources we have. As being BMETs

Shane Cooper  15:31

I’ll take that one. And, and really a walk it back into, you have to look in a mirror, you have to look at your own program. And, you know, we’re innately biomass, we’re problem solvers. And we have a problem. So how do we fix it, so we go back to the drawing board, and one of the first things we did was look at our career ladder, and restructuring our program and the positions within it. And in doing so, that allowed us some flexibility to allow for more entry level candidates to come in the door. You know, allowing them to get a certificate and work their way up into a certification, if desired. And, you know, changing the minimum years required, also, so, but we’ve also established the strategic growth plan as well. And part of that is, you know, getting those PRN positions created, you know, ie, what Tim is able to do for us. That way we can concentrate on training our candidates and, you know, entry level folks that we can get trained up to PCE twos, threes, so.

Chyrill Sandrini  16:46

So, do you have an apprenticeship program?

Shane Cooper  16:51

We just created an internship, and that was, you know, really a team effort and getting that established. So we were able to get that needed. And as Tim was saying, we’re able to interface with the community, and schools and really start that engagement there.

Chyrill Sandrini  17:13

And that’s great. So what is your expectation to retain that employee? Through that commitment of that internship, because they fill up there’s a gap there that we’re not addressing in the industry, that we’re giving internships, apprenticeships, but then they’re moving on to other organizations, as you know, you’re competing with every, you know, ISO manufacturers? There’s a lot of different draws to their opportunities. have you addressed that at all or any ideas around that? 

Shane Cooper  17:51

Our program specifically, just is a summer internship. And as we were talking earlier, we want to get out in front of them early on in that first year before that decision has been made. And really, it’s just to bring awareness to our field. And if at the end of the internship at the end of their program, when they graduate, they choose to go to an ISO or a different healthcare facility. That’s fine. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because it it just closes those doors or opens doors for more opportunities later on down the road. 

Chyrill Sandrini  18:25

Does your insurance internship require that they attended or rolled in a BMET program at school? 

Shane Cooper  18:32

Not necessarily a be met specific program, Electronics Technology Engineering, But yeah, definitely BMET. So we want to paint this with a broad brush to not necessarily pigeonhole ourselves. 

Chyrill Sandrini  18:49

I like that. I liked that. Tim, how do you see that program working? You think bringing them in for that, and that internship for the summer is causing that excitement? And perhaps an influx of more people modelled it this way?

Tim Cordes  19:06

I think so. For one thing, the program that we set up with the local community college, in the biomed program requires an internship. So that’s part of the last semester of of that class, so So it helps meet that need for starters, I think the other thing and we’ve heard this from students we talked to at career fairs, also educators is Job Shadow opportunities, especially with the high school students, if you want to get them hooked a little bit, give them a day in the life Right. And that that seems to help solidify if they’re thinking about it. That helps solidify them to take that next step and enroll in the electronics program. I think the way Shane’s approached it is is perfect, in that you can take it from either either source right either bringing a guy up that had some electronics background guy gal, or somebody that is already in a program and trying to find a job. I think what he said about not pigeonholing himself is the perfect approach with that, honestly.

Chyrill Sandrini  20:15

Let me ask you this, guys. So with all the restrictions, I mean, we we came out of COVID. Don’t know if we’re going to go back into a COVID. And I know as a vendor, sometimes it’s even hard for myself, who’s credentialed and vaccinated. How do you get over that hump? Getting High School students, early college students into the hospital shadowing you are in a program? Do you find any barriers?

Shane Cooper  20:45

We haven’t yet. But it’s, it’s still new. So there’s barriers every look, but we have to just keep pushing forward. So we haven’t experienced any of that resistance yet. But that’s something that we’re definitely willing to work through for the for the better of the industry. 

Chyrill Sandrini  21:02

Yeah, I think that’s a great idea, um, is something that you think about it, I really think this is something that we could talk to AAMI about. I think that job shadowing, you know, coming from even having my own daughter and her at the time her boyfriend, where they were like, What is it BMET? And here I’ve been in the industry, and she comes home from college. And all she knew is it was in demand. And it kind of triggered a light bulb, and I started explaining it. And then she got to talk to some industry people now it was COVID. She still couldn’t go in a facility, but she jumped into a school. I think that we are missing that field trip opportunity. Yeah. 

Tim Cordes  21:46

I think it’s a key to it. And I, I get that from you when talking to counselors and educators, that that’s what kids are telling them. Well, I want to go see it. I want to be part of it. I want to I want to understand it more. We were fortunate at University of Kansas Health System in that we had numerous programs that they have for job shadowing because it’s an academic institution. But in order to do it, like we wanted to do it, we had to limit it to a one day job shadow, which for us, yeah, it’d be great to have them for a week. But in all likelihood, they don’t have a week anyway. Right? They’ve got they got classes going on, they got part time jobs, that kind of stuff. But in the one that we did this with are a couple of them. One of them for sure has already become a BMET he’s well on his way anyway. I think one of the things that triggered that was, GE has an internship program or apprenticeship program ready to go. Right? He knew right, where to apply and how to go. And that’s kind of been some of the message that our association has been sending out to the HTM directors in areas. It’s it’s paramount to get these programs in place, Job Shadow internships, that type of thing. 

Chyrill Sandrini  23:10

Do you guys invite students to your HTM association, your local HTM association for meetings? 

Tim Cordes  23:13

So far, we’ve been kind of focused on the electronic students. So we make the instructors aware when we have meetings, and they’re welcome to come out. I think one of the problems that we have with that is kids are working, right? When they’re not in school, they’re working. So when are they going to have time? And now if you got a kid that’s already engaged, you can usually get them to come out. Quite honestly, the app, post COVID We’ve had a hard enough time getting the BMETs to come out to our meetings, much less students.

Chyrill Sandrini  23:54

I know I always think you’ve got to bribe them with food.

Shane Cooper  23:59

Yes, no always works.

Tim Cordes  24:02

Kansas City Barbecue does work pretty good for that. But

Chyrill Sandrini  24:06

yeah. And you know, I think that for you to give your time back Tim, that really speaks to the career field. And maybe that’d be a challenge. Maybe you want to put that challenge out there to anyone else who’s retired, right is to reach out to their local high schools and try to get, you know, wear that shirt. What is a BMET? Come talk to me with the QR code on it. We may have started something on this podcast. But I think I’m gonna start wearing that shirt around. Yeah, I mean, would you like to put that challenge out to other people that are retired instead of just leaving the industry? Let’s give back? 

Tim Cordes  24:47

I think it’s the only way right i Well, for for one, for one thing who’s got the time, right? I mean, it’s amazing when you retire. It just seems like oh my god. When did I I have this time to do this stuff, but, but the fact of the matter is, and I look at it this way, this field gave me a lot. Why should I not give back? Right? A lot of what I got was through our local association or in relationships or networking with other B Mets in the area? And why not? Why not encourage that? Why not keep that going? So 

Chyrill Sandrini  25:29

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. You know, I might put that out there. Maybe that’s something that Danielle, my friend, Danielle, at AAMI might have some encouraging. Push behind that that movement. 

Tim Cordes  25:46

There’s, it was interesting, because the in the HTM mixer that we that we did, she actually came down and have me present to those students. Oh, she is great. And so she talked about the HTML in a box. I talked a little bit more about the local opportunities, we have that type of thing. But she, I think, specifically with her, I think we’ve seen better support from AAMI than we’ve ever seen, in my opinion, personal opinion. And I credit Danielle with that. 

Chyrill Sandrini  26:18

Yep, she’s an awesome and awesome human. Well, guys, so we’re kind of coming to the end of our podcast, and you know, I did root for the Eagles. But you know, had to, it’s gonna be my son-in-law, right? But besides the Kansas City Chiefs, you know, insight and the pray that you’re going to head out to today, I want some words of wisdom from both of you. I mean, you have such a vast experience. And we want when these kids are out there googling what is a bead mat, or are looking into it, that this is a resource that they can click on and listen to someone from your perspective chain and your perspective, Tim. So once you just take some time and just tell them, why don’t you be involved and how they can get involved and maybe how they can reach you if they’re interested if during the Kansas City area, and they’d like to know more about the program. Shane, go ahead. 

Shane Cooper  27:18

So my my words of wisdom are basically from the hiring perspective, when I look across the board of candidates, and my suggestion is just to hire for character, not necessarily talent, you know, you can if they have the right personality and character, you can train anyone. So definitely don’t close that door on on a single candidate. And in doing so, if you, you know, have a great team around you, everything else will fall in place. But if if students are interested in in reaching out to me my emails, scooper9@kumc.edu And we’d love to have a conversation with you. 

Chyrill Sandrini  28:01

I love that. I really love that, Shane. Tim, what are your words of wisdom? 

Tim Cordes  28:06

So mine probably come back to check for local associations, right? There’s usually contact information in there. More often than not, there’s somebody within those associations that can guide you or lead you towards either a job shadow internships, or just come to meetings and learn about it. I think the other thing that appears to me to be fairly significant right now is getting ourselves involved in this right to repair. I think it’s a key in the future. And I think all of us need to be get involved with that.

Chyrill Sandrini  28:52

100% Yeah, what a hot topic, right? We’ve had a lot of great insight on HTM Insider from leaders in the industry, but it’s still a battle. It hasn’t moved a lot. The needle hasn’t moved a lot on right to repair. 

Tim Cordes  29:08

There’s a lot of strong against it, right? lobbyists. Right, exactly. So just like with htm careers, we’ve got to be our own lobbyist. Right. We’ve got to push it. So 

Chyrill Sandrini  29:24

Yep. And I say we start wearing the shirt. I’ll start making them getting them sent out. Yeah. So I really appreciate you guys coming on today. And Tim, I’m sure that you’d be willing to be a resource. You know if there’s anybody in that, you know, area or across the nation. If they just want more information, how do they get ahold of you?

Tim Cordes  29:47

Probably the best way is through email. tcordes@kumc.edu Sorry. Or again Do the local association. In our case, that’s the HTMA Midwest. There’s links in there to what we’re doing and also contact information as well. 

Chyrill Sandrini  30:10

Perfect. Well, we’re coming to the end of our podcast today. And you know, I really appreciate Tim and Shane coming on. And if you want more information or to how to model maybe you’re an htm leader, you know, how they’ve successfully are bringing students in for that, you know, field trip, for that internship over the summer. I know that Tim and Shing would both be willing to talk to you. So again, follow htm on htm insider, on YouTube, on Spotify, on Apple, wherever you listen to your podcast, where there, make sure you share your opinions. And give us a follow and we look forward to seeing you on our next episode. Thank you gentlemen. Thank you so much.