In your opinion, is this the right qualification to be asking for when looking at a Person Spec?
With the inability to repair down to component level these days I wonder if the qualifications being asked for have not moved with the times?
Obviously it gives a good base to further medical technology related courses but in many Person Specs i see it's HNC/Degree or nothing. Is it due to a lack of clinical engineering students that can offer an alternative?
To my mind the requirements for higher education qualifications seemed to coincide with the moves toward professional registration.
Are they necessary? No!
Would I still use them in whittling down a list of applicants for a post? Probably! Cop out!
Is a tech not educated to that level less able? No, again!
When I started out in renal i was the proud owner of an ONC and a few city and guilds!
And i think anyone who knows me will agree I am an an extraordinarily good technician [sic].
But Joking aside, I'm not convinced that a HNC is reliant, a good well structured apprenticeship, supported by an education pathway seems more fitting. A degree/HNC in electronics will be of no use when trying to unblock a drain stack at a home patients house, when they haven't dialysed for 4 days and your job or not, they expect it to be fixed!
p.s I have a degree now! has it helped me? Yes, in applying for jobs with unrealistic entry criteria!
Most of the best renal engineers I know and worked with came up through the route of ONC/HNC especially with them done part time whilst employed as a supernumerary as I did.In my humble opinion scrapping the NHS funded ONC/HNC training route and relying on degree level applicants only for new applicants and promotions (in some hospitals) was a disaster in terms of all round technical ability and retention of the best staff.
This is purely from experience and I'm sure that no answer is entirely right or wrong. HNC is seen as a minumum for appointment at Band 5. Suitable candidates without HNC can be appointed at Band 5 Annex U and work to achieve HNC through day release. Does this qualification and interview find the best person for the job? Possibly not which is why we routinely have candidates take a practical test as part of interview process.
We have found practical tests are very good indicators of suitability.
Last band 4/5 interviews, the first and simplest task we could think of was to wire 3x 6v lead acid batteries to make one 18v battery ( we were too mean to buy Fresenius 18v batteries ).
After the second interview, and 2 near fires, we decided to discharge the batteries for the remaining interviews. Both the candidates had electronic qualifications.
The successful candidate had no electronics at all but talked us through his thoughts as he completed the task and showed he could think.
This matter came to light recently when we unfortunately had to offer two members of the team redeployment with the local medical engineering group being the only suitable destination. Luckily for those concerned they had vacancies. One tech who had been in dialysis 5 years operating at band 5 level had to be down banded because although having various mechanical and electronic certificates and 5 years experience working on what I consider to be the most complicated piece of medical electronics in the health care system he didn't have the golden HNC. Could he fix as well as those in the department with a degree - of course. While I would never want to dumb down the job I think experience in the field is just as valuable.
We have another senior member with 15 years under his belt at the top of band 6 but not a HNC in electronics. In terms of redeployment he too would only be offered band 4.
It just got me thinking about the whole thing. Like some of you guys I was lucky enough to start as a trainee on what would now be band 2 and got day release for the HNC. Not everyone is so lucky though.