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How to save lives with clinical engineering

This is a photo of Orlando Hodgson, who is a clinical engineer

Clinical engineer Orlando Hodgson keeps life-saving medical devices healthy

Hospitals are full of technology, from medical-imaging machines and patient monitors to the robots delivering sandwiches in the cafeteria.

“Technology is everywhere you look,” says Orlando Hodgson. “And the thing is, someone needs to maintain it.”

As a clinical engineer for NSW Health, Orlando’s job is to make sure all of the devices that doctors and nurses need to do their jobs are in optimal condition. His workshop looks after machines used by hospitals in northern Sydney. “It can be overwhelming, but it’s good because it’s a big learning curve,” he says.

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A holistic education

As a kid, Orlando wanted to design aircraft, but Year 10 work experience at an aviation company changed his mind: “I realised there wasn’t a big market for aeronautical engineering in Australia. We don’t design planes here!”

Instead, he studied mechatronic engineering at Macquarie University. “I liked that it brings multiple streams together,” he says.

A few electives related to biology inspired Orlando to work in medical engineering. His Honours project looked at using ‘neurostimulation’ (stimulating nerves) to manage chronic pain and depression.

 “It’s all about problem-solving. How can we engineer a solution to minimise chronic pain?”

Orlando had a range of experiences to start his career. Now, he looks forward to finding out how health tech develops. “I want to be at the forefront of medical technology. I want to see how far we can get. All of these devices have to be top-notch in safety – there’s no margin for error,” he says.

Orlando’s study and career path to becoming a clinical engineer

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechantronic Engineering), Macquarie University
  • Application engineering intern, Omron Electronics
  • Graduate electrical engineer, ActronAir
  • Clinical engineer, NSW Health
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