Why listening is so important
Do you need to be a good listener to be an Engineer? The answer is a definitive yes – according to Mackenzie Tannhauser.
“Meeting people who benefit from our products is not only vital to my work, but it’s the part I enjoy the most,” says Mackenzie Tannhauser.
Mackenzie works as a Product Line Engineer at Smiths Medical, specialising in hospital infusion pumps among a number of other products.
Taking the time to listen
She visits patients and medical professionals regularly in hospitals to hear about their experiences with particular products.
“I think people may not view listening as a useful skill in engineering. But in my line of work, it’s so important to what we do. How can we improve our products without listening to the patients, doctors and nurses who come into contact with them every day?”
Taking the time to do this helps Mackenzie and colleagues translate user experiences into technical solutions.
As a matter of course, this feedback is gathered regularly and applied across the entire product line. Some products help to deliver pain relief through epidurals to women in labour. Others provide life-saving intervention for premature babies.
A meaningful career
After completing a summer intern programme with Smiths Medical, Mackenzie graduated with a Biomedical Engineering degree in 2016. She was recruited into a full-time position shortly after this. Her desire to work in the Medical and Healthcare industry however, stretches further back than this.
“I grew up with a heart condition, so a lot of my childhood and adolescence was spent in hospitals and around nurses and doctors. Having been there myself, it brings me a huge amount of satisfaction to know that our medical devices are making an impact in healthcare every day. I find this enormously rewarding.”
Engineering is everywhere
Looking to the future, Mackenzie is positive about her career.
“There’s not always a “cookie cutter” route in engineering. This is something that is very exciting. But, it can also be daunting. Enrolling in the Smiths Medical mentorship programme has been really useful in helping me navigate my career to this point.”
As part of Smiths Medical’s Society of Women Engineers, Mackenzie volunteers as an outreach coach and represents her industry at Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) school events. Here, she likes to emphasise how much fun she has in her role and for young people to think beyond school lessons when they think of engineering.
“I’m so keen for young people to think of engineering as more than just maths and science. It’s everywhere we look, in all aspects of our lives. It gives you such a varied career: I’m an expert problem solver. I find solutions that help people. And I get up every day knowing that I’m making a difference.”
“What’s more fun than that?”