Talented young engineer performing key role at Neonatal Unit

A young engineer is using his skills to help keep premature babies alive in Bradford.

Just four years into his career Nurul (Imy) Amin is responsible for trialling, testing and repairing life-saving equipment at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The 28-year-old Specialist Healthcare Scientist is a member of the Clinical Engineering team, and the senior engineer based within the Trust’s award-winning Neonatal Unit, where he works alongside clinical staff to provide the best possible care to the city’s youngest residents.

Imy, of Shipley, attended Challenge College and the University of Bradford, where he studied for a degree in Clinical Engineering, before landing the coveted role in 2014.

He said: “I originally did work experience here while studying for my degree. When a placement came up with the Clinical Engineering department, I grabbed it. Over the three years of my degree I worked with them for a total of seven-to-eight months, and that stood me in good stead when a job came up by graduation.”

lmy had harboured hopes of becoming an engineer since he was young, and was thrilled when he landed his dream job in his home city.

“I always enjoyed fixing things when I was younger, and it was always my ambition to be an engineer. I chose the medical field because I really wanted to be able to help people alongside the engineering aspect.

“When I first joined the Trust I started working on equipment from all areas before specialising. And when I’d built up some experience I was able to start working in the Neonatal Unit.

“To be able to help small babies at the very beginning of their lives is amazing and very rewarding – it motivates me to work harder. It gives me peace of mind knowing that we have been able to help both babies and their families.”

However, Imy admits that he sometimes feels the pressure such an important role can bring.

“Often, when something goes wrong, I will get called and a lot of the time I will have to work in situ and with the parents present.

“When I started I really felt the pressure. We have always got other equipment available and we always make sure an emergency bay is left free in case there is a problem. And if a machine such as the ventilator was to fail we have resuscitation equipment on every wall too. But nevertheless you do feel the pressure.”

A major part of Imy’s role is to test each piece of equipment robustly once it has been repaired or serviced. This is achieved accurately using various calibration devices, including an ECG simulator, electrical safety tester, and gas flow analyser along with software-based equipment.  High-risk equipment, such as a ventilator, takes longer to test.

No room for error

“A ventilator is a life-support machine, and you have to be absolutely sure it’s working properly and accordingly before you put it back into use, so everything is recorded to make sure there is no room for error,” Imy added.

“We also trial new equipment as we are always looking to improve the service we offer. I keep in touch with the manufacturers and if I think a piece of equipment will help improve patient care, I will put it forward for trial. Although, ultimately it’s the senior clinical staff who decide which equipment we have.”

The Neonatal Unit at Bradford has five ‘nurseries’ which are graded according to the level of care provided. Level 0.5 and 1 are intensive care units, level 2 is a high-dependency nursery, and levels 3 and 4 lower dependency rooms. Babies can move through each before they are able to go home.

“It’s very rewarding to see a baby progress through the unit and go home,” said Imy. “The clinical staff are exceptionally skilled, and the relationship I have built up with them is awesome.

“They know that they can come to me if they have a problem with any piece of equipment. They are very appreciative and we are one team working for the patient.

Imy added he was also “very proud” when the Neonatal Unit was recently awarded Unicef Baby Friendly status, the first level three unit in the UK to gain the accolade. “Neonatal Bradford takes babies from all over the country to provide specialist intensive care.”

Imy’s boss, Iain Threlkeld, Head of Clinical Engineering at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, said: “Imy has shown a great deal of ambition and maturity during his time working in the department.

“To come in as a placement student with no experience and go on to develop into a specialist role in the Neonatal Unit shows how much commitment he has put into his development.

“Imy is an asset to the Trust and will hopefully go on to have a long and successful career alongside his colleagues in Clinical Engineering, who all make such a vital contribution to patients of all ages.”

So, after securing his dream job at a relatively young age what’s next for Imy?

“At the beginning I wanted to get to where I am now,” he added. “Now I want to consolidate and continue to share my knowledge with junior staff, just like more senior staff did with me when I first began.

“I’m very happy here.”