Student groups team up for event on technology in health care

On Thursday, March 2, the Biomedical Engineering Success Team (B.E.S.T.) hosted Scott Johnsen, a 2014 alumnus of the NIU School of Nursing, for a special presentation on technology in nursing. The talk was presented in partnership with the NIU Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Johnsen spoke about technologies nurses work with every day as they treat their patients. Johnsen works for Advocate Health Care, mostly with cardiac and stroke patients, but the progressive care unit where he works includes patients with a range of medical issues. Students attending the event learned about IV pumps, EKGs, defibrillators, pacemakers, ultrasound, dialysis and more. One of the most interesting devices Johnsen discussed was a baclofen pump, which is surgically implanted to treat severe muscle spasticity by injecting medication into spinal fluid. 

Nursing student Emily Brown said the event was “very relevant” to her even though she is not studying biomedical engineering.

“It was intriguing to listen to a speaker talk about the technology I have already used in clinical and the machines I have yet to use,” she said.

Students could ask about the various devices during a Q&A after the presentation. Those in attendance also picked Johnsen’s brain about problems he sees in today’s health care technology and what he thinks could be improved. He responded by saying EKG could be improved to eliminate easily acquired interference and that there could be better communication or integration between different machines or pieces of equipment.
“It was interesting to see the technology biomed people create being used to save lives in a real world setting,” said Allana Rose, IEEE chair. “It’s nice to get feedback from a direct user, the pros and the cons. They can give the most useful feedback on the technology.”
 B.E.S.T. President Jacob Goes echoed the sentiment, saying it was “a great experience to interact with someone on the other end of biomedical engineering innovations.” B.E.S.T. Treasurer Fahad Mohammedhussein added that identifying ways today’s technology could be improved generated a great inspiration for senior design project ideas.
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