Employee Spotlight: Sandra Calderon
Born in Peru and came to the United States when she was seven, Sandra Calderon has truly made the most of her opportunities. From nurse to BMET to her current position of one of our Regional Service Managers, she has racked up quite the experience in her 17 years in the healthcare industry. Read as she shares her experience in the healthcare and HTM industry, especially being a woman in such a male dominated industry!
How did you get into the field of HTM?
After completing Nursing school and passing my boards, I started working as a Licensed Practical Nurse. A year in, I decided to pursue my bachelor’s in nursing. Fortunately (yes fortunately) the school would not accept my nursing credits and I was pushed to go another route. I decided to pursue my education in a different field. I went back to school to earn my A.S in Computer Electronics Engineering and right after graduation, a friend asked if I wanted a job in the hospital’s Biomedical Engineering department. Unsure of what it entailed, she provided the job description and helped me secure an interview. Hired on the spot, I have been in the field ever since.
Why did you get into the field of HTM/what drew you to this field?
It aligned with my prior nursing experience - both involved patient care in a healthcare setting.
What do you love most about the HTM industry?
The rewarding feeling knowing we play a part in healing and saving patient’s lives daily.
What is the most challenging part of being in this industry?
The lack of interest in this industry from the newer generation. This will create a significant staffing shortage in the future.
Regional Service Manager Role
What is your job description in this role?
I am responsible for the day-to-day management of a team of seventeen biomedical technicians and imaging engineers throughout six states. This includes: overseeing the repair and maintenance of each account’s equipment, monitoring financials daily, reporting monthly performance results to senior leadership, growing new and current accounts, assisting in new or refurbished equipment sales, and creating and managing budgets. Additionally, I am responsible for customer satisfaction, customer amendments and contract renewals, and providing training, evaluating, coaching, and mentoring of my team.
What prepared you for this role/industry?
I started as a BMET I in an 800+ bed hospital. I learned and grasped quickly and soon got promoted to a BMET II which led me to a BMET Lead then to a BMET Supervisor. During that time, I wanted to learn as much as possible, which led me to attend multiple OEM trainings on ventilators, incubators, ultrasound, patient monitors, defibs, and pumps. I was also incredibly involved in the industry – having attended many conferences and became a board member of Virginia Biomedical’s Association. I then got promoted to the department’s Biomed/IT systems analyst., which rounded out my 11 years at that hospital. My next venture was working for a consulting company providing a CMMS solution. This led me to work for a third-party biomed organization as a technology manager for a 700+ bed hospital which paved my way to becoming a regional service manager for InterMed.
What do you love most about your role?
My wonderful team. I have been blessed with a group of individuals who are enthusiastic and dedicated in providing quality work. We are a close team and I enjoy being a part of their growth and success.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
As much as I would love to keep everyone happy and satisfied, this is the most challenging aspect of my role. With the variety of accounts and clients it is tough to achieve this.
What is one experience/story that you have that encapsulates your role and/or this industry well?
Participating in mission trips. I have been to Ecuador and Guatemala to perform repairs/maintenance in third world hospitals. With little to almost zero resources you learn to be resourceful. You see the challenges they face, such as not having adequate equipment, or having to use obsolete equipment with retrofitted parts/accessories that are torn, used, or wrapped up in electrical tape from top to bottom all while also seeing patients in agony and distress. These experiences have made me humbler and have only increased my love for this profession.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into your role?
Do your research and really get to know what we do in this profession. Shadow a technician for a day. See if a role in this field is right for you. The best advice is to secure a job that you enjoy doing - it makes a world of a difference.
Woman In a Male Dominated Industry & Role
How do you feel about being a woman in a male dominated industry and role?
I love it. In the beginning it was intimidating - being the only female in her early 20’s in a male dominant shop was frightening. However, not being a stranger to challenges, I pushed through. I did not let that set me back. On the contrary, this was my encouragement to move up the career ladder.
What are some of the challenges with this?
People’s assumption of my credibility. My voice is, at times, dismissed because I am a female, especially a minority female.
What do you like about this?
I get to highlight my experience and skills that I have gained in my 17 years in the field. With the additional benefit of speaking two languages.
How does this affect you in your position (if it does)?
There have been situations where, because I started at an early age and moved into management quickly, I was met with hard feelings from others. At times, people find it difficult to take directions from someone younger and/or of the opposite sex and some use it to take advantage of the situation.
Do you have any advice for a woman trying to get into this industry/role?
Acknowledge the extra challenge it may bring being a woman in this industry, but do not let that stop you. Take it as an incentive to succeed!