View Full Version : Re: Bioengineer or Biomedical Engineer?

Hamid Rassoulian
05-24-2001, 01:00 AM
In response to Dr. Shimada's posting, and without knowing the background to it, I would like to make the following contribution, to this seemingly unimportant topic.

The way I understand law works is that individuals are held accountable for their actions and for what they are responsible for (have accepted responsibility for, through a job contract). The title is irrelevant, what counts is the job description and the authority (i.e. the legally acceptable authority) that goes with it.

To give an example, here in the UK, various titles could be used to describe the same individual (viz Clinical Scientist, Bioengineer, Medical Engineer, Biomedical Engineer, Rehabilitation Engineer, etc and you could think of new titles too). What is important is the description of duties, for example those dealing with patients or employed in the health service are legally required to have state registration which clearly defines the legal responsibilities associated with the job title (whatever that may be).

I would resist any attempt at standardizing of titles and labels. Because then the individual's list of responsibilities are automatically ignored. This has two major implications. First is that it forms a rigid and inflexible image of that particular specialty, and for example it tends to limit the evolution of that specialty by restricting it to certain prescribed tasks. This has far reaching implications not in terms of the sphere of activity and productivity of that specialty but also in terms of the perception of the society, of both the individuals with that specialty (i.e. stereotyping effect) as well as, in terms of recruitment of new blood into the specialty.

The other reason for my resistance to standardizing labels is that it would become an automatic assumption that any individual with that label has certain capabilities and/or responsibilities. Therefore individual variations (that are huge and do exist because of job functions and other reasons) would be set aside by the individual himself (or herself). The implications are more than obvious not in terms of the execution of duties but also taking pride in one's work.

I think the mechanisms are already in place for the identification of professional status, through state registration and/or professional body memberships.


Dr. H Rassoulian BSc, MSc, PhD, MIPEM, SRCS
Head of Clinical Bioengineering Group
Dept. Medical Physics & Bioengineering
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust
Southampton SO16 6YD
United Kingdom
Tel: 023 80796945
Fax: 023 80794117
email1: Hamid.Rassoulian@suht.swest.nhs.uk
email2: hamidR@soton.ac.uk

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