Technology for dummies
Frank Turner never imagined he would play an integral part of the education of life-saving professionals.
He began his career with STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) in 2002, as a general technician, ten years after graduating from electronic engineering at SAIT.
His career eventually led him to helping to perfect the technologies of human patient simulators (HPS), used for training in medical education programs throughout Canada.
“I didn’t think there was anything involved with these human patient simulators so it’s very unique, very interesting and new,” says Turner.
These HPS act as human beings to help students train for crisises that might unfold in real life situations. Some simulators even have computer-generated hearts, lungs and airways.
Turner started off as a certified technician (C-Tech) with STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) and is now the C-Tech manager of technologies and logistics at The STARS Centre and manager of METI (Medical Education Technologies Inc.) Support Canada.
He also sat on the steering committee for SAIT’s paramedics and respiratory therapy program’s simulation development and was part of the decision for SAIT to purchase HPS.
Growing up on his family farm outside Cochrane, Alta., Turner was always interested in electronics.
“I grew up tinkering with stuff, taking things apart and putting it back together and making it all work,” says Turner.
At SAIT, students in Respiratory Therapy, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Emergency Medical Technologist – Paramedic (EMT-P) use the human patient simulators often, says Blair Lindsay, SAIT simulation educator.
“We depend on Frank to keep these complicated things running and he does a fabulous job maintaining our equipment,” says Lindsay.
The maintenance requires everything from software updates and upgrades to component level replacements, such as electronic pneumatics components and computer motherboards.
“It’s a very diverse job to have to be looking after all this stuff, but it’s so very unique,” says Turner.