Day in the life of a HealthCare Field Services Engineer

Fausto Cruz is a Field Services Engineer with over 12 years of experience in healthcare, currently working at GE HealthCare.

Meet Fausto Cruz GE HealthCare Field Services Engineer from Brazil

GE Healthcare Field Services Engineer Fausto Cruz with colleagues
GE Healthcare Fausto Cruz with colleagues

Fausto is coming up to six years with GE and in that time has already accumulated more than 24 awards. Three of them are for first, second, and fourth place in gamification against all the field engineers in Brazil.

Award from GE Healthcare

In addition to working as a field service engineer, Fausto has added EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) inspection to his workload. He has been doing this for the last two years.
As well, he has started to work on the remote connectivity of imaging equipment.

Background before working as a healthcare field services engineer

Where did you work before you moved into healthcare?

I did something completely different. For seven years, I worked in IT, including working for a very well-known investment bank in Brazil.

Were there any childhood interests which were a factor?

When I was a child, I grew up seeing my dad working in industry at night and doing extra work during the day. I usually went to school every morning and after that, I used to go help my dad with his extra jobs. So, from an early age, I learned to work with electrical and hydraulics. So, it was then that my interest in different types of engineering started.

Has there been a particular person who has inspired you?

My dad was the most outstanding example in my life. He was an excellent professional role model working as an electrician. He always received a lot of recognition from his co-workers and customers.

Have you always liked fixing things?

I can remember that I loved playing with my dad’s tools and causing a few short circuits in the electrical outlets in my mother’s house. Also, as a good boy, I always took my toys apart and then put them back together.

In 1998 when I was 15, I got my first computer with Windows 98. The internet could be used with a dial-up connection, and I usually spent a long time surfing the internet even before dawn. This is where my passion for IT was born.

Computers to Biomedical and HealthCare Field Services Engineer

You studied Computing and then worked in IT. How did you crossover into Biomed?

During my studies, I had a network computer course that I loved. The main reason for that was because of the fantastic teacher – Vladimir. He was demanding and very intelligent. So, I fell in love with network computers and when I completed high school, I decided to start studying Computer Networking Technology at Universidade Cruzeiro do Sul.
After I graduated, I started Computer Network Management at FIAP (Faculdade de Informática e Administração Paulista),one of the greatest IT universities in São Paulo.

I used my studies and worked in IT for a long time. For part of the time I worked for one of the biggest Brazilian investment banks, called Banco Itaú BBA. It was an immeasurable opportunity, where I could learn a lot about the latest technologies of that time. Also, I was able to develop many of the skills which still help me.

Which skills did you take with you?

Programming logic is by far the best skill that I learned in IT. I use it all the time to understand each problem at my customers’ sites. Programming logic helped me to have an open mind and see many possibilities at a critical moment, so I use it in my professional and personal life.

Studying and starting in Biomed

You’ve kept on studying – how have you balanced this with working in a demanding job?

In 1999, I started studying Mechatronics which led in 2000, to the opportunity to start my professional career working with biomedical equipment.

Where did you work to start your biomedical career?

My first job was as an intern working with Baxter 1550 hemodialysis equipment at Clínica São Jorge, now NephroCare.
Two years after that I started a new role at a military Hospital, called Hospital Cruz Azul, working with new Baxter Tina hemodialysis equipment as well. At this time, I had a lot of direct contact with dialysis patients. Seeing the weekly struggle of each one of them during the period I worked in each of the clinics made me really understand the importance of my work.

Typical day as a HealthCare Field Services Engineer

What’s your typical day like?

Every day is busy but organised.

I start my day by waking up early (around 05:30 am) to get my son ready for school, while my wife gets ready to go to work.
At 06:00 am they leave home together, and I go to the gym, spending about an hour doing my workout. Next, I return home to take a shower and breakfast.
Then, I leave my home to visit my first customer and the first case of the day. The number of cases each day, depends on their complexity. But I usually work on two or three cases a day (there are some days that I work on four or five cases). Sometimes, before work, I take my son to school or pick him up when I finish my day.

Fausto Cruz with his son

I’m currently doing a new degree, studying the fifth semester of Computer Engineering at Centro Univesitário Eniac, and my classes start at 6 in the evening. So, I need to be very organised in my daily activities to be able to arrive on time at university.

Finally, I return home to play with my son for a while, before he goes to sleep. After that I do some homework and then go to sleep ready to start again the next day.

How much of your time is spent ‘hands-on’ and how much helping your team?

I would say that I spend most of my time working because when I’m not with a customer on-site, I’m working at home or on my mobile helping someone. I’m the sort of person who loves to help others. It’s a real pleasure to do this!

Support in the workplace

Which other people in the workplace give you support?

I’m very blessed to know many people who have supported me in the past and who support me today. I can name a few people who have given me great examples of hard and soft skills that I have learnt. In fact, I could mention many, many names, but I will just give a few special people here.

Eduardo Fujita and Fabrizio Rodrigues since the beginning of my career as a GE HealthCare channel partner. They provided me with the many different types of assistance and direction to be who I am at GE.

Alex Toledo my old Area Service Manager, is a very clever person who can work with all sorts of people. He always helped me to understand what I was struggling with.

Carlos Varela, Sérgio Rocha, Claúdio Corrêa, Mauricio Vidal, and Tales Souza are giants of support in their respective areas. They are always available to help anyone with their knowledge.

Fausto Cruz HealthCare Field Services Engineer with GE Healthcare colleagues

Alejandro Cortez is the best-ever official instructor in MICT. I have good memories and good times with him getting a lot of different instructions about CT scans. I felt he was betting on me. Above all, a great friend!

Fausto Cruz GE Healthcare with colleague and tool bag

Erick Fiori, Cesar Velicka, Júlio Gomes, André Uriel, Ricardo Cruz and Gustavo França my best friends and co-workers help me all the time with different questions, professional or personal.

fixing GE Healthcare equipment Fausto Cruz HealthCare Field Services Engineer

Building relationships with customers as a HealthCare Field Services Engineer

How do you start to build a relationship with a new customer?

Working as a field engineer in healthcare, we often go to a clinic or hospital to solve critical problems. In my opinion, the first thing to do is to truly listen and understand the customer.

How do you develop the relationship so that it becomes more than just ‘supplier’ and ‘customer’?

I’m the typical person who has “owner pain”. That means that although the machines are not mine, in every technical service I feel as if they were mine. I cannot leave the customer’s site until I’m sure that I cannot do anything more. So, I hope that my customers understand my true dedication and it builds a very good relationship.

Another thing that is very crucial for me is, to be honest with my customers and to tell them the truth about their equipment. It doesn’t matter if I have good or bad news. I always need to be honest, so that makes us more than “supplier” and “customer”.

Equipment used as a HealthCare Field Services Engineer

What are the types of equipment you work on?

Nowadays I work with:

All types of GE HealthCare Ultrasounds
Bone and Metabolic Health Systems
CT Scanners
Workstations for Ultrasounds
Dexa Scans (bone density)
CT Scans.

Furthermore, I’m also learning about PET/CT.

What is the best piece of equipment you have ever worked on?

It’s not an easy question for me, because every new thing I do is exciting at the early stage. So, each piece of equipment is the best.

What has been the most difficult piece of equipment you have worked on?

I think that all equipment is not easy to work with when you are starting on something new. There will always be a new challenge when you are doing something for the first time. We all feel fear, but if we believe in ourselves, we will be able to do it.

Completing a CT scan installation for GE Healthcare Fausto Cruz

Most challenging part of the job

What do you find most challenging when you are working – technical side or people/customers?

Both, sometimes, are big challenges.
Machines cannot say anything. We need to read their logfiles to interpret them and understand the machine’s symptoms.
On the other hand, people are easier to understand. But sometimes they don’t want to be understood.

Most challenging job to date

What has been your most challenging job to date?

I’ve had many challenging situations in my professional life. Usually, they all relate to people who have a difficult temperament or strong opinions.
But there is a case that has stuck in my memory. In this case a doctor located in a region where I don’t work, had a problem with his relatively new equipment, after a few months of use. Another field engineer was working on the issue alongside a regional support engineer. After some unsuccessful attempts at repair, they called me asking for my support since I had much more experience in the equipment model in question.

When I was there at the clinic, I asked the doctor to try to reproduce the problem so that I could see and understand completely. Once I could see the issue, I asked him to give me a few hours to work on the problem. So, I started removing all the boards from the equipment to get all the hardware identifications (serial number, part number, codes, versions, revisions, etc). As I collected this data, I cleaned the boards and reinstalled them again. When the customer saw me doing that he said:

“What you are doing, the other engineers have already done that, and it didn’t work.”

So, I kept working and replied:

“I think it will work now!”

After reinstalling all the boards, I turned on the equipment, accessed a specific area of the system, revalidated, and corrected the entire hardware inventory and, after that, rebooted the system. Once that was done, the equipment never presented the same defect again.

Easy fixes

Have you ever arrived on-site and found that it’s been much easier than you expected? For example, have you just needed to switch on a machine?

Oh yeah! I have already had a lot of cases where, just after I arrived, the machines started to work well.
Some customers say:

“You have holy hands.”

Fausto Cruz at work GE Healthcare


How do you motivate your team?

Being a team player, working and learning together. When we work as a team, we feel more confident and able to improve ourselves.

Open GE Healthcare scanner Fausto Cruz

What are your tips for the best ways to share knowledge and experience with other engineers?

I usually say to my “young” classmates: it’s not enough to be the best in your technical work if you are not able to understand the business of the company whose equipment you are working on. It’s necessary to understand how important it is that all departments work together like clock gears. Building relationships with the more diverse areas inside of the company can help you learn and teach more than you can imagine. Here I’m talking about building not just technical skills, but commercial, financial, and many other skills.

How do you support someone in your team when things have gone wrong because of a mistake?

I am a people person and feel happy when anybody requests help from me. I often stop my work to help those who request my help. If I’m not able to answer a question, it’s a good opportunity to learn something new.

“Your doubt can be my doubt.”

Making a future star

Apart from a strong technical background, what are the three most important skills to have?

IT Knowledge
Nowadays, where so many things are based on technology, I would say that IT knowledge is essential so that you can learn much more fluidly.

People skills
Be a friendly person, always able to work in a team, because then you will learn faster and do better.

Understand the whole organisation
As mentioned in a previous part, understanding completely the business of the company you work for and, more than that, understanding your customers.

Fausto Cruz of GE Healthcare Having dinner in Milwaukee with some friends

Further reading

Other biomedical engineers share their knowledge and experience.

Worth Sharing!

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  1. Muito Bem, Fausto!
    Brazil is an interesting market for field engineers because majority of the resident technicians are very good so you have to be top notch or very humble like Fausto say a people person to gain trust with the customer.