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Hospital biomed director:
'They want it now'

graphic
Arleigh D. Murrell  

Name

Arleigh D. Murrell


Position

Director of biomedical engineering and materials management, Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia

Presbyterian is one of four hospitals in the health system. Our specialties are cardiology and orthopedics.

The biomedical engineering department is responsible for all the medical equipment used to provide care to our patients. We perform pre-purchase evaluations, installation, regular maintenance and repair of the equipment. We also ensure that the equipment meets all regulatory standards and is safe. It's also our job to maintain a database of the equipment from the day it comes in until it's disposed of. In this position, I'm the administrator and one of the technicians.

  QUICK VOTE
graphic One of the most interesting points Arleigh Murrell makes is that many hospital patients "will never know our departments exist." Many key careers -- and not just in health care -- are like this: invisible to the layperson. Are you the type who can be happy in one of these low-profile but critical lines of work?

Yeah. It's noble and very satisfying to work in the background for others' benefit.
I'm torn. Such work is noble, yes, but I wonder if these careerists don't feel under-appreciated.
As much as I admire this kind of profession, I'm just the type who needs more limelight than you can get behind the scenes.
View Results

The materials management department is responsible for ensuring that the hospital has all the supplies it needs to run. We're responsible for ordering, delivering floor stock, shipping and receiving, and mail services for the hospital. We work closely with corporate materials management to reduce costs for supplies and decrease inventory. This position is more administrative, in that I'm involved in finding ways to save money, processing product recalls, and assisting with the development of our new enterprise resource software.

Years in position

Thirteen years in the health system.


Age

35, Gemini


Education

I have an associate's degree in biomedical engineering from the Community College of Philadelphia and a bachelor's degree in organizational management from Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.


How did you get your current job?

I met my administrator at the farewell party for the former director of biomed and it just grew from there.

" Things can be tense at any time, as the hospital operates around the clock. Almost everything is a crisis. When the patient care areas need equipment fixed or supplies delivered, they want it now."

How many hours do you work per week?

I work 45 to 50 hours per week, usually 7:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m., plus a few hours on the weekends. I'm on call for biomed evenings and weekends every sixth or seventh week.


What's the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

Check my calendar and my e-mail. Then I check with the staffs of both departments for any major issues.


What time do you have lunch? What do you usually eat?

Usually around 1 or 1:30 p.m. Some days I just eat on the run. I try to eat a balanced, healthy meal.

  HEALTH AND EDUCATION
The Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System has been a teaching affiliate of the university for more than 25 years. Its 344-bed acute-care setting is used to train students in clinical challenges. Staff members hold faculty appointments at the School of Medicine. The center is home to several specialized patient-care services including the Philadelphia Heart Institute. And we heard from Arleigh Murrell when he used our handy submission form to let us know about his work. If you'd like us to consider profiling your "Day on the Job" here at CNN.com/career, please let us hear from you as Murrell did.
 

What time do things get tense around the office? What makes it that way?

Things can be tense at any time, as the hospital operates around the clock. Almost everything is a crisis. When the patient-care areas need equipment fixed or supplies delivered, they want it now.


If you're having a good day at work, what is it that makes it good?

I have a lot of good days because all my colleagues work together to address any abnormal issues that arise. The average patient or outsider will never know our departments exist.


How much work, if any, do you take home?

Not much, just reports and reading for meetings.


What does your work contribute to society?

"Society" in our case is the patient population. Our departments are essential to the hospital's mission to deliver the highest quality health care.


Do you expect to finish your working life in this career?

Maybe. Health care is a fluid industry but I love it.


If you could have two more careers, what would they be?

I'd like to be an airline pilot or a cardiac surgeon. I've loved planes since I was a little kid and I think it would be cool to be the captain. Cardiac surgeons can repair the organ that gives life to humans. Their skill and knowledge fascinate me.

When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work? "Knowing that there are patients who rely on us to get better."

What's an unforgivable trait in a colleague?

Dishonesty


What do you do to relieve stress?

Mountain biking and travelling to other countries.


What have you been reading lately?

I like to read to learn about things. Right now, most of my reading is technically oriented.


When you have one of those days on which you don't think you can face the job again, what is it that gets you out the door in the morning and off to work?

Knowing that there are patients who rely on us to get better.

graphic


 

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RELATED SITES:
Community College of Philadelphia
Eastern College
University of Pennsylvania Health System


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