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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Volunteering provides real-life experience for this biomedical engineering grad

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Himali Dave wears our purple volunteer vest, which immediately makes her recognizable throughout the hospital as someone who can show patients and visitors the way to their appointment, or help someone find their car. But today she’s in our Clinical Engineering department, helping the team test machines that have been sent down for repairs.

As a biomedical engineer, Himali is leveraging her knowledge and expertise and bringing that to the Clinical Engineering team. We sat down with her to learn about why she decided to volunteer at St. Joe’s and how her experience here is helping prepare her for the future.

What first made you want to volunteer with us?
I wanted to do something in my field and I’m grateful to St. Joe’s that they provide volunteering opportunities so I can gain experience and help people at the same time. The staff are so helpful and you get to learn things in your own field so you grow.

What is biomedical engineering?
We are the technologists who deal with the machines and medical devices – maintenance, service, repair. If there’s anything wrong with a device, we’re called. We make sure it’s safe to be used on patients.

What do you do in the Clinical Engineering department as a volunteer?
Mainly I’m in the lab, but sometimes I go to the floors with other technologists. I help with inventory, ordering parts and servicing devices.

What made you interested in this field?
It was actually from the beginning when I was at home; if something was broken, my dad used to fix it and I always used to help. I always thought it was so interesting – you get to use all these cool tools. My dad motivated me and said, ‘Okay you can choose this field – if you love what you do then it’s good.’ As an engineer, I love all the machines; I love working with them – opening, dismantling, troubleshooting, putting them back together.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned during your time here?
You come to know how important one life is. If it’s a small machine I’m dealing with I always think, ‘Okay this is going to the floor, it’s going to be used on a patient, if something happens with them because of this machine, I’m liable,’ so you have to know the importance of one’s life – I always keep that in mind.

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