Careers in Healthcare S1 E9 Healthcare science: Bioengineer

Andy’s been a bioengineer at the West of Scotland Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre (WestMARC) for nearly 10 years. In this episode, he tells us what it takes to be a bioengineer and how you can be one too.

Bioengineers are clinical scientists. Andy explained that, as a bioengineer, he helps people when they can’t sit unaided or in a standard wheelchair. He uses his advanced communication and problem-solving skills to design ‘custom cushions, an entire custom seat, or a modification or adaptation to a patient’s wheelchair’. He says he feels a bit like a wheelchair GP!

Andy's motivation

When Andy was at school, he wasn’t too sure what he’d like to do, although he knew he enjoyed Maths, Physics and Music. He decided on a degree in Electronics Engineering and Music at the University of Glasgow. It was there that he helped with some research on spinal injuries at WestMARC. Once Andy had a chance to help patients, he knew this was the job for him! He now spends at least 2 to 3 days a week meeting with patients in the clinic or in their homes.

The best part of being a bioengineer

The most rewarding part of Andy’s work is helping patients by designing or improving their wheelchairs. Meeting with the same patients over a few years means that Andy’s able to take in positive and negative feedback to improve that patient’s experience. He particularly enjoys that patients have different needs, meaning that even those with similar conditions might not require the same adaptations.

Andy's advice for you

Andy’s advice to any budding bioengineers out there is to have a look at your degree options. Many universities now offer specialised degrees in Biomedical Engineering, which they didn’t when Andy was at school. He also suggests finding out more about bioengineering at:

Discover more about Andy's role by visiting our page on how to become a clinical engineer.

We hope you enjoyed finding out about Andy’s fantastic work as a bioengineer. Make sure to tune in to our other episodes to find out more about different healthcare science roles in NHSScotland. If you’d like to read about NHSScotland careers, including those in healthcare science, explore our careers.