In the Field: ‘Saving Lives’ by Caring for Equipment
Hakan Akan performs his work with great seriousness and care. Like a surgeon, he knows that the more careful he is in his work, the better the potential outcome for patients.
Hakan, an Advanced Field Service Engineer with GE Healthcare in Turkey, installs, repairs and maintains CT and PET/CT scanners. This equipment is often used to diagnose and treat people with cancer and critical trauma cases, such as accident victims.
“By calibrating the equipment in the best possible way, we help the machines to achieve very high precision,” he says. “If the calibration is off, the location of the [cancerous lesion] or its size could be off, and that’s critical.”
“So, when I fix a system or complete a calibration, I feel good. I feel that I am helping the patients in a way that’s very important,” he says. “When the hospital technician powers on the system, and the patient can be scanned and the results detected, I feel that in some way I am saving lives. And that makes me very proud and motivates me so much in my work.”
Thirty-five years old, Hakan has been with GE Healthcare for seven years, having had a similar role with another company for nearly five years. His passion for his job is clear. He recalled recently going to a hospital to install a new machine. In the next room, he saw a CT system he’d installed seven or eight years earlier in his previous role.
Looking at it, “I felt I was seeing my son again after a long time. When installing these systems, it’s like helping them be birthed, so as I worked on the new system, I felt like it had a big brother in the other room!”
Hakan recognizes that his work is about more than just the equipment; it’s also about working with customers. One of the most dramatic examples of this, he says, happened at a hospital in a mountainous region of eastern Turkey. They were having ongoing problems with their new CT scanner. Hakan and the local team of GE Healthcare field service engineers proposed a number of fixes, but nothing worked. When they raised it with their remote field service engineer colleagues that provide global support to local GE Healthcare teams, they learned that a hospital at a high elevation in Kenya had a similar problem.
The engineer explained the solution, which required a piece of heavy equipment that had to be shipped by land, rather than airfreighted, from Istanbul, which was thousands of kilometers away. When the equipment was finally delivered and installed, and the system running properly, the hospital was thrilled. They gave Hakan and the GE Healthcare team the highest marks on their customer feedback form “because we had great communication with the customer. Almost every day we were informing them of what was happening and what we were doing,” he says. “They knew I was doing my best, and that I was on their side. Communication is so critical.”
Hakan is one of nine field service engineers from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan region to be selected to participate in GE Healthcare’s Global Field Engineer Olympic Academy. They are among nearly 80 field service engineers from around the world selected to participate in a weeklong learning and development event during May at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha, Wisconsin (USA).
Read more stories about GE Healthcare’s work to enhance healthcare across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey