Meet the Author: Selby Holder

8 Feb

In 2005 Selby Holder, then assistant department chair of the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College Waco, co-authored Basic Electronic Troubleshooting for Biomedical Technicians with Nicholas Cram. (A free sample from this book may be downloaded at its detailed product page by following the title’s link above.) Currently he serves as Technical Cluster Director for Engineering Technologies at TSTC Waco. He was interviewed by Cathy Torres, an English major in the professional writing program at Baylor University and an editorial intern at TSTC Publishing.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about TSTC Waco’s Biomedical Equipment Technology?

A: TSTC Waco has the second largest biomed training program in the country after the Department of Defense and this semester we have 146 students. In the past the number has been as high as 248, so this semester we’re a little lower. We usually have an average in the 160 range.

Q: What kinds of jobs can the biomedical technology graduates expect to find?

A: There are three main areas that a student can go into. First, they can go in-house, which means they would work directly for a hospital. Second, they could work for a third-party; basically, this would be a separate entity from the hospital, but that company would service the hospitals and local clinics when necessary. Third, they could work for a manufacturer. About 60 percent go in-house and 20 percent each go to manufacturers and to third-party situations.

Q: What opportunities are here locally?

A: Of course, there are the two local hospitals: Providence and Hillcrest. There are also two other local companies, Healthcare Biomedical Services and Riddell Imaging. The majority of our students are going to the Metroplex (Dallas-Forth Worth), East Texas, or the Houston corridor. TSTC Harlingen has a biomedical program as well. Most of the TSTC Harlingen grads tend to stay in South Texas, while ours usually stay in East Texas.

Q: What educational background and industry experience did you have before coming to teach at TSTC Waco?

A: I have an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology. In addition, I have a national certification in biomedical equipment and probably eight different industry training certificates in sterilizers, ultrasounds, monitoring, infusion devices and physical therapy equipment. I also worked in the field for about seven years before coming here to teach.

Q: What made you want to write Basic Electronic Troubleshooting for Biomedical Technicians?

A: It was the lack of troubleshooting books specifically made for the biomed field. Plus, out of Carr and Brown, the two authors who had produced a lot of the troubleshooting books (even when I was in school some 15 years ago), one author has passed away, and the other one hasn’t updated the information in five or six years. So, there was a real need for a current version of a troubleshooting book.

Q: If you were trying you to describe this book to someone who doesn’t even know what biomedical technology is, how would you explain the book and its content?

A: It’s basically an overview of electronic troubleshooting techniques used for medical devices. That is as generic as I can put it without getting too technical. It gives you a step-by-step knowledge of the main components of medical devices. It doesn’t cover all equipment and their specifics, but in this book you have general techniques and main troubleshooting concepts that biomedical majors need knowledge of to work on equipment.

Q: Is this an introductory book or a book for an advanced class?

A: You would have to have an electronics background to really utilize this book to its fullest potential. That’s not to say no one could pick up this book and really understand it. But it would be an intermediate-level book. It’s not basic and it’s not advanced, because an advanced book would contain more depth into various devices.

Q: Concerning the classes that are taught at TSTC Waco, when would they use this book?

A: It would be a book you would use in your second or third semester, depending on what sequence the student started in.

Q: What was the hardest thing to write about the book? The easiest?

A: The hardest thing was coming up with real-world scenarios that you can put in the labs at the end of each chapter because the majority of my work was dealing with those lab practicals. I did do some of the text, but my main focus was being able to put the lab exercises into a context where other facilities that have less equipment than we do could still use them. Therefore, it is important that we relate all the different lab practicals in the book for a wide range of equipment, so that they are relevant to anyone using the book. That was the hardest. However, going back to the labs, there were certain labs that were simply things that all biomedical majors do every day, which were obviously incorporated in the book. So that was the easiest.

Q: The book’s foreign rights were licensed to a publisher in India. Did that excite you?

A: It did! And we got to looking and there is an Indian author who has written a biomedical book that is a little more updated than the Carr and Brown book that we are using now. No official decisions have been made, but TSTC Waco may be adopting that biomedical book for future classes.

Q: Your book has also has been adopted by some other places in the US. Any feedback from those?

A: I have talked to two professors in North Carolina, and we discussed and cleared up some questions they had on some labs. Acutally, they were the ones that introduced the idea of the new biomed book by the Indian author.

Q: This new book coupled with yours will be used in all the classes held at TSTC?

A: Our book only covers troubleshooting, while the book written in India about biomedical technology covers a wide variety of biomed and general info about all the various devices in the medical field. Actually, the book is used from beginning to end.

Q: Would you consider writing a book like this?

A: That would be truly time-consuming, although I am not completely shut out to the idea. It would depend on my schedule and that of a co-author on how long it would take to develop a large book like that.

Q: What kinds of writing projects, if any, do you have in mind for the future?

A: Safety in Healthcare Facilities, also co-written with Nick Cram, will be published this summer.

I’ve also talked to Mark Long, our publisher, about a biomed reference book. Currently, we do use a safety reference book that is basically THE reference guide for all biomeds. However, it has not been updated or further produced in seven or eight years because of some unrelated business issues. We want to produce an updated biomed guide that also includes current reference materials.

Q: Any last words you’d like to add?

A: Well, it’s been easy so far. TSTC Publishing has made this experience a pleasant one.

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