AAMI News March 2018

'Keep Your Intern Mentality' and Other Career Advice that Stuck

Career advice often comes out in clichés: “Follow your passion,” “Give 110%,” “Keep your eyes on the prize.” But with mentorship being such an important component of career success, there has to be some advice that actually moves past these pat phrases and helps propel a young professional’s career forward. What is it? Five successful healthcare technology professionals at all stages of their careers share the advice they’ve taken to heart along the way.

Jennifer DeFrancesco‘Keep your intern mentality.’ As an intern, you are given everything nobody else wants to do. The key is to do these less-than-desirable projects with a smile and do them well. After a while, opportunities come up for larger regional or national projects.  When you’re one of the only people doing something well—regardless of whether it was something nobody else wanted to do—you get tapped to do it. Above and beyond that, this advice speaks to a mentality of doing whatever it takes to get a task done to the best of your ability—doing research, going the extra mile, telling someone that you don’t know something and that you are gathering information, working until midnight. The intern mentality also allows you the ‘safety net’ of trying something new and different and potentially failing. I try to approach my work like that every day.”
—Jennifer DeFrancesco, acting associate director for the Dayton VA Medical Center

Codi Nelson
Don’t let others negatively influence you or your abilities. Seek out individuals who will help mold you into the person you want to become. Always ask questions and think outside the box. These things will help you grow.”
—Codi Nelson, biomedical equipment technician III for Crothall Healthcare

Jo M. WoodThis is twofold: To network like there is no tomorrow and to never say ‘no’ to an opportunity that is presented to you—especially if it feels difficult or scary! There are so many amazing people in our industry that I was completely unaware of until I started to venture out of my facility. This was really hard for me because up until just a few years ago I was very shy and avoided meeting new people at all costs. After a little while, it started to get easier, and now it is one of my favorite parts of traveling to conferences and meetings.”
—Jo M. Wood, sterile processing training and staff development manager at Massachusetts General Hospital

Robert Sayle
‘You are a corporation of one.’ When I first heard this early in my career, it sounded somewhat selfish to me. We’re conditioned when we’re younger to view corporations as greedy, faceless organizations, so who would want to view themselves as a corporation? I understand now that what it really means is that you’re responsible for your own career. No one will make career choices for you. No one else is looking out for your best interests, and no one else is going to ensure your success. It’s all up to you.”
—Robert Sayle, technical solutions architect for Cisco Systems, Inc.

Tim Reeves
It’s a mixed sporting metaphor, but it stuck with me: ‘If you can’t hit a home run, make sure to move the yardsticks.’”
—Tim Reeves, managing director of Human Factors MD


More career advice for students and young professionals is available at www.aami.org/nextgen.