This week, I had the opportunity to visit Stanmore Implants, a leading patient specific implants company. They design and manufacture orthopedic implants directly at their base in Stanmore. The visit was organised by the IMechE North West London division and Dr H Screen, lecturer at QM. Only a few of us were lucky enough to go. Had I not gone, I would have most certainly been envious of my colleagues who did!
A group of us from Queen Mary, Brunel University, and a couple of senior IMechE members were present. We were greeted by the chief technical Officer, Dr P Unwin. Little did I know that this individual was going to offer me the most eye opening, and useful insight into the application of what I had been learning on the Medical Engineering program to industry. We’ve all heard our lecturers tell us numerous times that they are giving us useful information, but I never truly understood the value of this until this visit.
Dr Unwin spoke about the various types of implants they design, ranging from hip to knee implants, and even those that act to replace parts of the pelvis. Ten minutes into the talk and I was nodding my head in agreement with nearly all of the information he was delivering. This was due to the familiarity of the knowledge that I had acquired from a module studied in year 1 called ‘Clinical Solutions in Medical Engineering’. He spoke in detail regarding the use of materials such as Cobalt Chrome, UHMWPE, Hydroxyapatite, Titanium and Bone Cement in implants. He went on further to talk about bone loosening, micro-motion, wear, and fibrous encapsulation; all problems which occur following implantation of a foreign object inside the human body. It seemed that he had summarized the entire content of this one module whilst referring to the implants they design. So if you’ve ever felt like the knowledge you are acquiring in lectures are only there to prepare you for exams. You could not be further from the truth!
This was the first time I realized that the Medical Engineering program had prepared me well for a job in industry. It was apparent that Queen Mary had structured its modules in a manner that was providing its students with relevant knowledge required in industry, and by doing so they are making Queen Mary graduates very attractive. In certain cases, some industrial companies already ask for Queen Mary students specifically for internship programs. In fact, there has been a Queen Mary Graduate working at Stanmore Implants for over 3 years. It was during this visit that I truly appreciated being a medical engineering student at Queen Mary.