Biomed Technician Keeps Medical Machines Running Smoothly
If the Ghostbusters theme song was rewritten for a hospital setting, it might instead urge you to call “biomed techs” when machines start acting spooky and strange.
For 13 years, Elvin Velez, a biomedical engineering technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital, has been a go-to resource for units across the hospital. Each month he tests more than 100 devices – feeding pumps, vital sign monitors, blanket warmers and more – to make sure these machines run smoothly when they’re needed most. He works down a list of devices, performing preventative maintenance, and shift priorities when things require sudden and unscheduled repairs.
“People reach out to us when they have problems with their devices,” Elvin said. “We help them with maintenance and repairs, and work with manufacturers when devices need to be shipped back to them. We test to make sure everything works as it's designed to the manufacturer’s guidelines.”
Elvin didn’t always aspire to be a biomed tech, but he’s always had a knack for fixing things. He tinkers with cars, bicycles and model airplanes in his spare time. When he moved to Tampa from Staten Island in 1997, he struggled at first to find work until he earned his degree in electronics engineering. Elvin joined BayCare as a bench technician repairing respiratory devices in 2009. He has since worked his way up to a biomed engineering tech II.
Even though he holds a degree and boasts well over a decade of experience in a hospital setting, medical machines continue to advance, Elvin said, and it’s part of his job to keep up to date with those changes.
“Technology has been changing from mechanical to more computer-driven equipment, so there’s always something to new learn,” he said. “We get trained on how to maintain that new equipment.”
Elvin’s dedication to his field hasn’t gone unnoticed. In June, he was named Professional of the Month by a biomed trade publication.
“It was unexpected but felt good to get that sort of recognition,” he said.
For Jamie Clark, manager of clinical engineering services at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Elvin supervisor, it was no surprise that Elvin received the honor.
“Elvin is one of many key parts of our team at St. Joe’s,” he said. “He will always give you 100 percent, whether servicing infusion pumps, EKG carts, ventilators or many other medical devices. Elvin is willing to fix any issue thrown his way. He’s truly an extraordinary team member.”