By Payton Daniele and Emily Crkvencic
This fall of 2017, the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs campus opened the new Biomedical Engineering Technology Lab.
The biomedical engineering program at Tarpon is different than other biomedical programs. Students in the program are focused on repairing medical devices. Other biomedical programs are more focused on the chemistry and biology side, but at Tarpon, students actually focus on the repair of medical equipment.
The lab has been in the works for a little over two years. The Tarpon Springs campus received the new lab because of the absence of a specialty facility on campus compared to the other St. Petersburg College campuses. Seminole has the patient clinic for the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, Clearwater has the visual arts facilities, with photography labs, ceramic facilities, and printmaking studio, and Gibbs has the planetarium.
Although Tarpon has the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, the biomedical lab was a useful addition to the campus and to the pre-existing biomedical program. This new lab allows students to experience hands-on learning and training for a future career in the biomedical field.
The lab is made up of many different medical devices that would be found in a hospital, such as X-ray machines, transfusion pumps, infant monitors, an anesthesia unit, and a patient monitor, which is used for ECG recording, SPO2, temperature, and blood pressure. A central station in the lab serves as a hub for the data. This is useful because a lot of medical equipment is now connected to the internet, so students are learning current industry techniques.
The funding for the lab came from a number of grants and donations. The lab received grants from the Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation, and the Carl Perkins grant under the Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act.
Dr. Brian Bell, program administrator for the Biomedical Engineering Technology program, said, “This lab is sort of unique because there was a need for a lab with medical devices, but also electrical testing equipment in the same area. That’s one of the reasons we created this lab. Students could work on the electronics and the repair, and also get a clinical feel on some of the medical equipment. That’s different from nursing, which is just clinical, or engineering, which is just repair.”
The lab is currently only open to and used by the biomedical program students. The program is geared to set students up to go into the biomedical field and be able to effectively fix broken medical devices.
If you are interested in the biomedical engineering program, more information can be found on SPC’s website.