Attracted to a Career in Healthcare Technology
I was recently asked by an industry journal what attracted me to the healthcare technology industry since there are relatively few senior executive women in our business. I have to admit, I was a little surprised by the question. But the more I pondered it, images of my career flashed by me.
Why was I attracted to this industry and how do other women find a career path to healthcare technology? I work closely with four other extremely talented women at Crothall’s Healthcare Technology Systems (HTS) business, which manages the life cycle of all medical devices and clinical technologies in more than 200 US hospitals. After speaking with them at length, I learned that there is not a conventional path to a successful career. But there is a desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives and take on just about any challenge that will open up new opportunities.
Why Women in Technology Should Consider Healthcare Tech
There are four other senior-level women in Crothall’s HTS division and we all agree that a career in healthcare technology is rewarding. Each of us encourages young women getting ready to graduate to consider it for the following reasons:
- HTS provides endless opportunities to learn practical knowledge you can apply to your job every day.
- People will respect your expertise and you can build your confidence while leading by example.
- You will be developed by compassionate leaders.
- HTS presents client facing opportunities.
- You will experience the gratification that comes with meeting a client’s needs.
- You can learn the importance of delivering results and achieving success.
Our paths into healthcare technology vary widely – which shows how women can find opportunities in a variety of ways to fit their skills. My career in healthcare technology started four years out of school when I became a senior buyer for University of Virginia’s Replacement Hospital Project. It was a fascinating time to start in healthcare and also personal. I was a brand new mom; my son, Tim was born just six weeks earlier. On the first day, I was asked to manage the procurement of all movable medical equipment and imaging equipment requests for proposal for UVA’s brand new Level III trauma center replacement hospital; the challenging ask drew me in and I was hooked.
As my career advanced, I joined General Electric (GE). I was fortunate to work for a company that invested in developing its high potential managers by providing “stretch” assignments. For example, I worked as the Quality Leader reporting to the chief executive officer for a GE joint venture. In that role, I earned a Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification. As a result, I’m able to lead a wide variety of process improvement projects that can help reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.
At about the same time, I completed my master’s degree in Business Administration by taking evening classes. GE continued to provide me great career opportunities, and I was soon the general manager for its $260 million Southeast Zone Imaging business in healthcare and later as general managers for its Imaging Installation Services. As the GM for Imaging Installation Services, I led several large projects that helped me gain even more experience including managing the installation of all GE MRI, CT scanner, PET and x-ray machine in the United States.
Women in Technology at Crothall
In 2016 I was fortunate to join Crothall. Fast-forward to today, I now oversee compliance, informatics, purchasing, capital equipment planning, imaging and costing for the Technology Resource Group. So, what about my other four female counterparts in Crothall’s healthcare technology business? They took different, but equally interesting paths.
Terri Crofts is Crothall’s Northeastern Regional Director of Operations. Terri is a mechanical engineer with a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. While her original dream was to design prosthetics, while she was working on her degree she worked part-time as a biomedical engineer and learned more about healthcare technology management that piqued her interest. After graduation, she read a newspaper article and saw that Brigham and Women’s Hospital was looking for clinical engineers. Terry responded to the opportunity and as Terry says, “the rest is history.”
Lisa Fry is Crothall’s Southeastern Regional Director of Operations. Lisa has a degree in business management with a focus in information technology. Her career started as a coordinator at Sentara Hospital in Virginia where she fell in love with the healthcare industry. As her career progressed, Lisa worked with GE Healthcare and like me was exposed to several growth opportunities as a high potential manager. Before Crothall she was the Director of Service at Aramark and as the Corporate Customer Director. In November 2014, Lisa joined the Crothall family.
Jodie Nixon is the Director of Procurement. Like Lisa Fry, Jodie started out as an administrator at another hospital, Carolinas Hospital System. Jodie’s willingness to jump in and take any challenges thrown her was the catalysts for her success. For example, on one occasion early in her role, Jodie’s manager asked her to work over a weekend. Her manager tasked her with acquiring a specialized glassware part that is used on CT scanners in hospitals. In hindsight, it seems small but was truly a pivotal moment that built trust between Jodie and her manager that led to future opportunities including her current role as Director of Procurement in Healthcare Technologies Solutions. Her skill and market knowledge is critical to the success of Healthcare Technologies.
Tiffany Bruce started her journey as a certified nurse technician right out of high school scheduling patient appointments on CT Scanners and MRI machines. She contemplated nursing but decided to go back to school and get an associate degree in business. In 2012, Tiffany joined the Crothall family as a customer service representative and was recently promoted to technical buyer. In her role as technical buyer, Tiffany is learning not just about parts acquisition, but about the contracting process and use of terms and conditions. Tiffany is now completing her four-year degree at Western Governors University.
Throughout each of these woman’s stories are common themes of a passion for healthcare and learning, persistence and a commitment to excellence. Young women looking to care for others through their work make their mark in engineering should look no further; we want your enthusiasm and talent to help us continue to grow.
Join the Crothall Healthcare Family
Sheila chose Compass One Healthcare and Crothall because of the opportunities she has to build her career while impacting the lives of patients and staff. Crothall is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, be sure to check out team member or management opportunities in the Crothall family through Compass Group Careers.