Diving In

For the first half of this week I felt like my internship was off to a slow start, which is typical for any new hire during the onboarding process, but on Wednesday, my workload went from 0 to 100 (for those unfamiliar with this phrase, it just means that things escalated very quickly).

As of Wednesday morning, I was working mainly on two projects, as I described last week, but after a few meetings throughout the day, I found out that I would have a lot more on my plate. And honestly, it was really exciting! I want to work on as many projects as possible throughout my short time here at BSC, and luckily, I have a great mentor in Guiselle who wants to help me experience as much as I can. Guiselle has been wonderful in every aspect; she includes me in all of her meetings and activities, explains the work that she is doing so that I can understand it too, gives me tasks to complete and provides feedback, goes above and beyond to make sure that I am happy with what I am doing and enjoying my work, and most of all has been a great friend and someone fun to laugh with.

In addition to the Design Ownership Transfer and project scope draft for the two products I mentioned in my last blog, I will be working on several other projects:

  • An onboarding project within the DA team
  • A Usability Engineering Plan for a product that requires a change to its packaging
  • A project for a guidewire that requires changes to its FMEA
  • An Innovation Culture Project within the R&D Department

I am really excited to be a part of all of these different projects, especially because they all have various requirements and tasks to complete and therefore will allow me to explore a variety of different components that a DA team is responsible for within a medtech company. The onboarding project is led by one of the wonderful ladies in the DA team. She has asked me to provide feedback on my onboarding process and to help them determine if the tools they have created for the process are helpful in understanding my role as part of the team. I also learned that she recently began to enjoy cooking, since she moved in with her boyfriend a few months ago (remember one of my personal goals is to learn at least two interesting facts about each member of the DA team). My entire team is super friendly, and they always make me feel very welcome. Another coworker invited us out to dinner and bowling after work on Thursday, and I learned this week that she has two dogs and a sweet daughter—she must get it from her mom! I sat with a third member of the DA at lunch on Thursday and learned that she also has two dogs (I really like being surrounded by so many dog lovers like myself). Getting to know my coworkers has been one of my favorite parts of the internship so far. It will definitely be sad to say goodbye to such a great group of people.

In addition to the onboarding project, I will be working on editing a Usability Engineering Plan for a family of guidewires that require a new label within the packaging hoop. I am particularly excited about this project, as it will involve a little bit of design work and creative thinking. Guiselle said that this is her favorite project, which made me really excited to be part of it. This week, I also completed a task for a different guidewire that needs changes implemented in its Use FMEA (failure modes and effects analysis). My task was to compare the FMEA for this product to the FMEA for a similar product in order to determine what changes could be implemented. The final project that I will be involved in is the Innovation Culture Project, which is led by Guiselle and Jorge. I will be giving a lecture to the R&D and DA teams with Guiselle about needs finding towards the end of my internship, which will be a completely new experience for me and should be a lot of fun.

Something that really stood out to me this week after attending a meeting with the DA team regarding Value Improvement Projects (VIPs) is how many different projects and tasks each member is working at once. They each have so much on their plate, and since I’m working within the team, I will also get a little taste of what that is like. I think that juggling several different projects and tasks at the same time will be a challenge but will also be really helpful when it comes to our implementation projects when we get back to Rice. For these projects, we will each have one that we lead, but we will be working within teams to help everyone complete their individual projects as well. Completing my tasks for each project I will be working on for the next four weeks should be beneficial when it comes to being able to work on each of my team member’s projects effectively. I am enjoying the challenge of multiple projects so far and am very thankful for my inherent love of to-do lists.

In addition to learning more about my coworkers, I have also completed many of my other goals for the week. On Tuesday, I went to the Coyol site of BSC for a manufacturing line tour of one of the products I am working with, and I really liked getting to see the entire process. This product is a cardiac catheterization product and therefore contains many small components. So small in fact, that a large portion of the manufacturing process is done using a microscope. I also noticed that the techniques used in the process require a lot of skill, and there is no room for error. Manufacturing plays such a large role in this industry, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to see the impact in person and learn more about it through this internship.

On Thursday, I was invited to watch a live case for a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) closure procedure, which is a cardiac catheterization procedure that uses an implant to close the septum between the right and left atria of the patient’s heart. The purpose of the procedure is to prevent blood leakage between the atria, which can cause a stroke if the patient develops a thrombus (blood clot) that is dislodged and travels to the brain. This was a really great learning experience for me, and I think that it is a helpful tool for engineers in the medtech industry. It allows a large group of engineers and physicians to interact throughout a procedure without having to be in the same room, which is extremely helpful for everyone’s busy schedule.

One of my other internship goals was to learn more about the different departments within the company. Also on Thursday, Callie, Chandler, and I met with one of our coworkers from the R&D Packaging group. Honestly, when this meeting was first set up, I was not expecting to learn all that much. I had no idea how much importance lies within the packaging of medical devices, so this meeting turned out to be really eye-opening and a lot of fun, especially since the guy we spoke with really loves his job and was really enthusiastic when describing it to us. One of the aspects about packaging that really proves its importance is that it is the first part of a device that the customer sees, and as we all know, first impressions count. The packaging department really has to focus on the customer needs and the labeling on the packages. For instance, they have to think about the nurse in the OR trying to open a BSC package while wearing gloves covered in blood, and they have to base their designs around those conditions. They also have to take great care in designing their labels, because even a simple mistake could cost a patient their life. Needless to say, that meeting was incredibly beneficial in learning more about all the different entities of a medtech company, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the entire process of implementing a device on the market.

As for the weekend, we made the most of it (as usual). Saturday, we went to Territorio de Zaguates, which is a large farm for hundreds of abandoned dogs from Costa Rica. We got to hike and play with the most dogs I have ever seen. It was definitely a dream come true. Later that evening we went to downtown San Jose for the Feria de Chocolate (chocolate fair), where we tried samples of dozens of different types of chocolate.

A day filled with dogs and chocolate, does it get any better than that?

In all, the past week was long, tiring, and challenging, but it was also a lot of fun and was full of new learning experiences. It is crazy how much you can learn in such a short amount of time.

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