According to the International Trade Administration, the United States remains the largest medical device market in the entire world, bringing in over $156 billion in profits (2017). In fact, within the next few years, the industry is projected to grow about 25%. As more opportunities open up for individuals, especially those interested in engineering and operations, large manufacturers and local businesses will be seeking ways to branch their knowledge.
The medical device industry can be very rewarding. Designing or producing life-saving devices has intrinsic and altruistic value. It can provide meaning and purpose for those involved by understanding the true value these products have on patients.From the time you apply to a job until you receive your first call, navigating this pathway to securely find the right fit can seem tumultuous.
An applicant can submit dozens of resumes, only to land one interview. A common problem for those who are new to the workforce are that jobs, whether it be part-time, full-time, paid or not, can be hard to come by. However, when it comes to gaining practical skills, opportunities like internships and mentorships can be invaluable.
One way companies are broadening their recruiting efforts is by offering student internships. Internships provide temporary employment and introduce real work experience, specifically for those still in college. An intern’s duty is to essentially learn how to be a contributing employee in their field of interest. During their time, fellow co-workers are asked to advise the interns through these processes and interns are expected to eventually take on and complete bigger projects.
With the medical device industry upholding several subsectors, such as electro-medical equipment and surgical supplies, interns can be a part of creating potentially life-saving equipment. This also generates a long-term recruiting funnel for employers.
Internships in the medical device industry enable students to appreciate the extensive process it takes to put a product on the market. Similar to the pharmaceutical industry, medical device companies need to develop patents to prevent other companies from copying their product (MedPAC, 2017). As a part of this process, interns can comprehend the efforts taken beyond just manufacturing and creating products. Though it can be a tiresome and difficult effort, in the end, it is definitely rewarding.
If you already had an intern role in the past and are seeking more opportunities to enhance your skills, then a mentorship could be the perfect role. Though most people will experience ample on-the-job training in their careers, the relationship that can be built with a mentor is unlike any other. Mentoring involves a proficient, trusted advisor, who values people and their contributions, taking an interest in career development. Regardless of our own experience, mentors can be our biggest supporters leading us down the correct path.
In the medical device industry, companies can be hesitant to hire “outsiders” because of the tacit knowledge required to navigate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations like the design control process. Effective mentoring requires finding a balance between understanding the rules and boundaries set for the more experienced employees and keeping the new employees involved and active. Mentors will also understand the importance of intangibles, such as time-saving tricks, rules of thumb, industry-specific terminology, and how to tie up loose ends in order to finish a project.
Mentorships in this specific field are great for the novice, who wishes to gain more awareness of a company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. Because the industry is more complex regarding the regulatory environment and patient safety, a mentee will be able to fine-tune your skill sets and create an appreciation for excellence.If you are interested in learning more about mentorships and internships from a reflective point of view, click here to read more about our CCO and CTO’s input.
MedPAC. (2017). An Overview of the Medical Device Industry. In Report to the Congress: Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System.