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Biomedical Engineering…

A graduating biomedical engineering technology student at SPC will always remember the highlight of the practical clinical experience completed with a current student in the program.
Biomedical Engineering Technology Graduate, Rainier Stefan Bautista

Biomedical Engineering Technology Graduate

A graduating biomedical engineering technology student at St. Philip's College will always remember the highlight of the practical clinical experience completed with a current student in the program.

Graduating student Rainier Stefan Bautista recalls modifying the high-tech incubator that air life crews at University Health System used to transport at-risk infants in the worst of emergencies a parent can imagine with team member and fellow biomedical engineering technology student Nicholas Castro, a 2005 Roosevelt High School graduate.

The University Health System experience was his second practicum. His first was with Metro Methodist, also in San Antonio. "I wanted to try something new compared to my excellent practicum at Metro Methodist, so I talked to biotechnology program director Alberto Vasquez about places to practicum. He suggested University Health System. It was eye-opening for me. It felt like going from my living room to a warehouse, maybe double to triple the size of any shop I'd ever been in, and there’s a lot of gear in most shops. It represented a variety that I could or could not work with as a practicum student. Full of challenges. I was interested in seeing how technicians would fix things, the process. We had a few problems to solve, in especially tight timeframes," Bautista said.

One urgent at piece of equipment that caught the attention of both students was a special incubator for transporting an infant on an emergency helicopter flight.

"They gave us a small time frame to work on one or two of these units," said Castro. "They did not have the flight scheduled to test and revise the position where the nurses and staff could have access to certain parts of the incubator, but the flight was expected to take place in a few days. It was mainly me and Nicholas with one expert from the shop who told us what to do to obtain measurements and make adjustments on their unit. We could all see that it was wobbling too much. The incubator had brackets that were loose, and we re-drilled to secure the brackets. The last revision was made from 8-2 p.m. on one day this spring," said Bautista.

Second year student Castro filled in the details.

"We reported to our practicum at 8 a.m., and it was early in that morning when the repair request came into the shop. The technician who specializes in bed repair was a prior field service representative for one of the big makers--Stryker. The shop is set up with a director and technician lead. The lead delegates the hospital’s workload among the specialists and the Level 1 techs. He got this issue to the attention of the specialist and when he saw students, he wanted to give us a high-level challenge, and that’s how we got to work on this project. It was one of those situations where University Hospital is a 900-plus bed hospital and from what I hear in the industry about how hospitals are regarded, it’s large, and there are only three of those incubators in the hospital. We thought, we need to get this worked on, quickly. It was jump-or-miss-it for us, and we jumped," said Castro.

"During a practicum in another location, I had done some bed work, but nothing like that; it was more repair of exterior parts and some minor electronic circuit board switch outs. This was pulling the incubator apart, so we could get a better configuration for the current helicopter---and the helicopter they will be upgrading to. It was more of a fabrication experience; we had to measure and disassemble a system. And the flight crew and nurses gave us finished dimensions so that it fit into their helicopter. It was a measure twice and drill once thing, with mocking up before drilling and having the flight crews come in and approve it as well. That was indefinitely a first," Castro said. "What followed was a three-way conversation between the biomeds, the flight crew and the nurses who were going to be receiving the patient. Through most of the practicums, we get the parts and instruments for repair with a paper work order, but we quickly realized this was one you cannot do in paperwork or on computers alone, it’s all in-person communication."

As he anticipates his graduation in seven months, Castro watches Bautista graduate on May 12 through a long lens.

"My stepfather Raymond Torres has been doing this for 30 years and graduated from this program at St. Philip's College in the 80s, maybe 1987. Seven R. Mitchell was president of the college at the time... " he said as he read from his father's college diploma. "He has since come back to the campus to be an adjunct faculty member in biotechnology engineering, so it keeps on investing itself. He was a biomed coming into the field after learning from the original biomeds of the 50s and 60s when component level repair was the trend. I’ve grown up with those images of biomedical technology and I have seen how much the field has changed in the last 30 years to become very highly technical and networked, monitoring brain and heart activity," Castro shared. "Using the Cisco (computer) network in the college classroom is very interconnected to what I am looking forward to doing professionally. There is the cutting edge and the leading edge. If you are curious about new technology and you are bone deep into it, this is the field to be in, and it’s awesome. The aspect of getting to help the community... helping sick and injured people without going through all the med school in order to practice, it’s a pleasure for me. I look forward to helping people," said Castro.

As one student looks on to the world of post-graduation and another student looks forward to graduating in the winter, they both look forward to attending the convention of a biomedical accrediting board in Austin this summer. It's another step on their journey, Castro shares. "A couple of us biomeds are looking forward to checking it out," said Castro.

Biomedical Engineering Technology Graduate, Rainier Stefan Bautista CAPTION: In an image taken by fellow biotechnology engineering program student Nicholas Castro, student Rainier Bautista operates the controller on an infant incubator the students modified to support the air life operations at University Health System as part of his St. Philip's College clinical experience.

 

 

ABOUT THE BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM AT ST. PHILIP'S COLLEGE: The Biomedical Engineering Technology degree is designed for students who desire a career in the healthcare technology management fields with a focus on medical devices. The program provides students with hands-on training in medical hardware and software to meet the growing demand for professionals who can manage, modify, repair, design and test, and upgrade medical devices, including medical devices with local area network, wide area network (WAN), WiFi, and Bluetooth capability. The curriculum is focused on the fundamentals of electronics, anatomy and physiology, medical equipment operation and troubleshooting, healthcare safety, and clinical information systems. Simulation based learning in a state of the art Human Patient Simulation center at the college promotes an exploration of medical devices and patient safety. Graduates are employed in federal, state, county and private healthcare facilities, as well as biomedical engineering research facilities. This degree helps candidates prepare for the ICC/USCC (International Certification Commission/ U.S. Certification Commission) Healthcare Technology Management exams for biomedical equipment technicians and clinical engineers. CBET- Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician, CLES Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist, CRES- Certified Radiological Equipment Specialist, CCE- Certified Clinical Engineer is supported through the HTCC/USBECE (Healthcare Technology Certification Commission/U.S. Board of Examiners for Clinical Engineering Certification. For details contact biotechnology program director Alberto Vasquez at (210) 486-0724, avasquez15@alamo.edu.

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