Medical engineering

Medical engineering refers to the process of checking medical equipment to make sure it’s working properly and is safe to use.

Apart from checking equipment, there are opportunities to specialise in medical device risk management and governance.

Healthcare scientist man with gamma camera

Overview

Hospitals use an increasingly wide range of medical equipment in order to deliver healthcare services. This ranges from simple devices such as nebulisers to deliver treatment for respiratory patients through to sophisticated radiotherapy linear accelerators for cancer treatments and other cutting-edge technologies.

Working life

All medical equipment needs to be checked to ensure it is working correctly and safe for patients and it is the role of healthcare science staff working in medical engineering to do this.

It isn’t just safety checks and maintenance, though. In medical engineering, you’d also get involved with the entire equipment lifecycle, including:

Medical engineering is a really exciting and varied role where you’ll use your expertise in electronic or mechanical engineering to undertake these activities and perhaps become involved in modifying or constructing equipment as well.

As a practitioner you’ll be undertaking a hands-on role with medical devices, working with a wide range of equipment commonly encountered in the hospital environment. You might specialise in certain types of equipment such as that used in renal or radiotherapy treatment, for example.

As a clinical scientist you can specialise in medical device risk management and governance where the role will be more focused on the effective management of equipment, for example ensuring equipment is replaced in a timely fashion and that risks associated with the use of equipment are minimised. Both roles complement each other and collectively contribute to patient health and wellbeing.

"Every day, I carry out different, challenging tasks. It involves everything from repairs, servicing, fault finding, electrical safety testing on dental chairs and hospital appliances."

Read Aqab's story in full.

Who will I work with?

Clinicians increasingly rely on the skills of healthcare science staff in medical engineering and so you will regularly liaise with other scientists, nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals as part of a multi-disciplinary team, all working for the benefit of the patient.

Want to learn more?

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