• Question: How does it feel after you've made something that has helped people?

    Asked by aditi09 to Naomi, Louise on 18 Mar 2015.
    • Photo: Louise France

      Louise France answered on 18 Mar 2015:

      Hi aditi09 🙂

      A career in engineering will always mean that you are making/designing/testing/improving something that will help people, whether this be through improving transport systems, communication methods etc. With medical engineering you are always working on things that can either save lives or improve the quality of someone’s life. Its a very rewarding job, and an incredible feeling knowing that my little bit of research can have such a huge impact!

      I like talking to people who have received an implant or have used tissue engineering techniques, just to see how they think its helped them. It’s important to see how society will react to my work, and if they think it is useful.

      I wouldnt change my job for anything 🙂

    • Photo: Naomi Green

      Naomi Green answered on 18 Mar 2015:

      Hi Aditi09 🙂

      Thanks for your questions earlier today. They were great. This is a good question and the answer is one of the reasons I decided to retrain as a biomedical engineer. Everything you do as a engineer will help people because you are solving a problem but something might have more impact than others and some problems might motivate you personally more than others.

      When I first started working as an engineer I used computer simulations to predict what effect different designs had on the safety of cars in crash tests and also to understand what had happened in real life crashes. I liked the fact that what I did was saving lives and reducing the number of injuries. I was then asked to move departments to design baggage handling systems for airports around the world. To start with I enjoyed it because I was learning a lot of new things and travelling the world but after a while I wasn’t very motivated to do it anymore because I didn’t really feel like I was helping anyone. So what if your bag gets to the plane on time? In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. I then found out that I had a problem with my spine. I had spinal surgery and needed 9 months off work and was told I’d be in pain for the rest of my life and would not be able to travel round the world like I used to. So whilst lying on my back doing nothing 🙂 I started thinking about what direction I could take my career in now. I remembered how much I enjoyed my work in car design and the feeling it gave me that I was being useful to society. I also had a new found fascination with the spine so I decided to retrain as a biomedical engineer and do my PhD. I love the fact that the work I do makes a difference to people like me who suffer with chronic pain because I know what an impact it has on people’s quality of life. 🙂