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Q&A with MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill

Posted on December 18, 2019

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Did you know that one of the most important jobs in health care happens largely behind the scenes? 

Medical device reprocessing technicians, or MDRT’s, are responsible for keeping surgical tools, medical equipment, and many other hospital materials clean and ready to use on patients. Thanks to very specialized training and skills, MDRT’s are germs’ worst nightmare. They are also highly in demand by local health authorities (Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health, and PHSA) as well as private surgical clinics. 

Vancouver Community College (VCC) MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill shares how she discovered this rewarding career, and offers advice to anyone starting out. 

Q&A with MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill 

How long have you been teaching at VCC?
I became an instructor with VCC in 2016. I am a third-generation educator in my family, and I feel very proud to carry on this legacy. 

What do you love about teaching? 
As an educator, it is my responsibility to prepare the students for their future and the community as their quality of work will tremendously affect human lives. Their confidence and ability to perform all tasks without any guidance is a happy moment for me; I love seeing their success at the end of the course. 

Where did you grow up? 
I was born and raised in India in a family of great leaders and mentors. Discipline was practiced everywhere in school and at home which instilled some great habits in me to this day. After I finished my master’s degree in Science, I moved to Canada in 1993. 

Where did you learn this trade? 
One day while working, a customer started a conversation about my educational background. I mentioned that I was interested in the medical field and he introduced me to the Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MDRT) program. I have a vivid memory of the customer drawing four areas on a piece of paper and explaining to me the different aspects of this job. I then began my journey and completed my certification as an MDRT from VCC in 1999. Ever since then, I have been working for Fraser Health. 

Share an interesting thing about your journey to reach this moment.
I was fortunate enough to experience setting up an MDR department from scratch. I felt very honoured to be chosen as a super-user of some equipment and was trusted to organize the department and set it up. 

How do you personally define success?
To me, success is a combination of discipline and commitment toward your goal. We have all heard the age-old lesson to choose quality over quantity – this fits perfectly in the field of medical device reprocessing. 

What is my best advice for someone starting out in this industry?
If you like to serve your community, this is the best way to go. We work as a barrier between the infections, fighting dirt to protect our patients. My motto is to always do the right thing, even when no one is watching. 

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Registration is now open for the Jan. 27 intake for VCC’s MDRT program. Applicants should note that prerequisites include Medical Terminology 1 (OACP 1108) and Interpersonal Communication Skills (MSKL 1104).