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Clinical engineers may also be known as biomedical engineers or bio-engineers. As an engineer working in this field your work would involve:
- testing equipment, such as walking aids, wheelchairs and speech synthesizers (known as assistive technologies)
- developing artificial limbs that attach to the patient’s own tissue, giving them greater control
- making artificial joints, heart valves and hearing implants from new materials to lessen the chance of rejection by the patient’s body
- designing equipment that allows doctors to try new medical techniques, for example, optical instruments for keyhole surgery
- day-to-day management of medical equipment, such as scanners, imaging machines and monitoring systems
- carrying out quality assurance checks to ensure all equipment is working correctly and safely
You would work closely with other medical professionals, technical staff and patients.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work around 37.5 hours a week. Your working hours would normally be 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In the NHS, you may have to work evenings or weekends as part of an on-call rota, depending on your role. Part-time work is also possible.
If you work in a hospital, your time would be split between a clinic and an engineering workshop. You will need to travel locally, usually to manage and maintain medical equipment in hospitals or health centres. You may also to travel for conferences and meetings.
In research or industry, you would be usually be based in a laboratory. You will also need to travel to introduce new equipment to hospitals.