One on One with Colleen Haugen-Ortiz

February 1, 2020

Categories: AAMI News, Government, Health Technology Management, HTM Professionals

COLLEEN HAUGEN-ORTIZ, CBET, is a former office manager and teacher who spent three years in the U.S. Army as a biomed. Today, she’s the site lead for Reston Hospital Center in Reston, VA, and a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council.

Colleen Haugen-OrtizQ What is your passion?

To help others and hopefully be a positive role model for other women to rise against the odds to be successful.

Q Who drove you to enter the healthcare technology management (HTM) field?

Joining the HTM field wasn’t exactly a choice for me. Upon joining the Army, I was presented with a list of jobs and decided that biomed was the best because it was indoors (Army bases are not in the best locations) and can be used outside of the military. My drive to stick with it was realizing that I felt that I was making a difference and could help without being the person who directly interacts with the patients.

Q How has your experience in the military helped you as an HTM professional?

The education I received from the military has given me a huge advantage because it emphasized actual hands on troubleshooting. I also benefited from the “make it work” attitude with the military

Q What do you want the next generation of HTM professionals to know about the field?

I really hope the next generation learns the importance of the career. This isn’t just some job, it’s an area where you can make a difference. Troubleshooting and technical skills are teachable, but learning the importance of what you’re doing is all about attitude.

Q What is your favorite color?

Maroon, unless I see it on a piece of equipment. In that case, send that back to be cleaned, please!

Q Least favorite color?

Puke colored.

Q Where do you see your life and career in 10 years?

I hope to be working in quality or regulations. I love working as a biomed, but I want to be on a higher level, making sure that things are done according to standards and hopefully improving the current standards.

Q  What are the biggest challenges you face every day on the job?

My biggest challenge is getting the customer to understand the importance of what I am telling them. For example, when I say the equipment cannot be used due to safety reasons, they sometimes like to push back. That baffles me.

Q  How about the smallest challenges?

My smallest challenge would be the commute. I live 17 miles away from my hospital, but it has taken me up to four hours to get home in the evenings. That’s life in the Washington, DC, area.

Q  What has been the proudest moment of your career?

The proudest moment of my career thus far would be being accepted to represent young biomeds on the Technology Management Council for AAMI. There, I can help shape the next generation of biomedical equipment technicians. I’m also proud to be a site lead this early in my career. I love what I do and I am hoping these moments will help me reach my 10-year goals!