Is Clinical Engineering an occupation or profession?

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David Yadin
Saide Calil
Nicolas Pallikarakis
Mladen Poluta
Stefano Bergamasco
Daniel Clark
Tom Judd
James Wear
Keiko Fukuta
Shauna Mullally
Wayne Morse

Keywords

Profession, Occupation, Vocation, Engineering, Clinical Engineering, credentialing, certification, Healthcare job, Qualification, Alliance, Engineer

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the practice level of engineers and discuss whether Clinical Engineering is a profession or an occupation. Many think that occupation and profession are synonyms, but are they? One must explore the difference, if it exists, between these terms, and to accomplish that, clarification of these terms is being offered and established first. We conducted a review of the terms and proceeded to identify if the tenants that are expected to be associated with professional standing are included in applying clinical engineering practices and to what level if it is. Engineering is a profession that improves the quality of living and for the common good. The professional education of engineers requires the education to contain a body of specialized knowledge, problem-solving skills, ethical behavior, and good analytical judgment in the service of all people. The engineering education domains aim to form individuals who are intellectually trained, practically adept, and ethically accountable for their work. Especially within the healthcare delivery system, engineering work engages problem-solving dependent upon sufficient body of knowledge to deal with practical problems by understanding the why, knowing how and identifying the when. There are various levels of the expected body of knowledge within the clinical engineering field ranging from engineers with formal academic training at undergraduate and graduate levels to clinical engineering technologists and technicians having graduated from between 1-4 years of academic training. Engineers may further select to publicly proclaim their adequate preparation and mastering of knowledge to conduct their work through a credentialing process that can confer the term professional, registered, or certified engineer if successfully achieved. Once the differences of working characteristics and obligations between occupation and profession are understood, it is clear that clinical engineers must continuously commit to pursue and fulfill these obligations. Therefore, every professional engineer is called on to achieve a certain degree of intellectual and technical mastery and acquire practical wisdom that brings together the knowledge and skills that best serve a particular purpose for the good of humanity. Clinical engineers and technologists are critical for sustaining the availability of safe, effective, and appropriate technology for patient care. It is as important for their associations to collaborate on compliance with professional obligations that their jobs require.

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