When you are fascinated with the most complex machine in the world and want to pursue a career observing its patterns, rejections only make you stronger in the pursuit of your goals!
Our next pathbreaker is Kamal Bharti, Neuro Technologist, whose interest in workings of the brain drove him to pursue a Diploma in Clinical Neurophysiology and Technology(DCNT) and subsequently work at the NBRC (National Brain Research Center), where he was one of the first people to handle an MEG machine in the entire country.
Kamal talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about his initial travails in getting a job in the Neuro Technology because of his background in engineering and his perseverance in achieving his aspirations.
A lesson to students that if you have a will to go somewhere there is aways a way!
Kamal, about your background?
My initial interest was to do something different, in the medical field, as I belong to engineering family.
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I did my Diploma in Clinical Neurophysiology and Technology(DCNT) while simultaneously doing my Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Science.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
I first did a Diploma in Computer Engineering and then prepared for admission to Bachelor of Engineering. I came to know about the DCNT course through a newspaper and applied for that.
For admission into DCNT a few candidates were shortlisted and interviews were conducted to know the basic background and interests of candidates.
I enrolled for the DCNT course in 2007 and also got admission in the part–time course in Bachelor of Engineering in 2008.
Initially, I wasn’t aware about neuroscience, but i was always interested in doing something in the medical field. My professor at DCNT guided me and helped me so much. He taught me everything from scratch as my background was totally different . Slowly my interest started growing day by day as most of the electronic equipment used in Neuroscience is related to computers and new technologies.
My professor at DCNT taught me about neuroscience from the basics which slowly raised my interest. He would call me whenever he took classes on neurophysiology for medical students.
I finished DCNT in 2009 and Engineering in 2012.
How did you get your first break?
After 3-4 rejections due to mismatch of my work with my experience and salary, I got a job 3 months after completing the DCNT course by applying for a vacancy.
After finishing DCNT I choose to work in the medical field. I started my career at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi in 2010 as Neuro Technician.
Due to my engineering background I didn’t face much difficulty in learning to handle medical equipment because most of them are computer based electronics equipment. Here I met my mentor and Neurologist Dr. Bhanu Pant who helped me so a lot and encouraged me in this field. He always supported me with enthusiasm if I did something new with the machine during the acquisition of patient data for the patient’s benefits.
What were the challenges? How did you address them?
I faced lots of problems in getting a job in the medical field as I did my graduation in Engineering and diploma in DCNT. I was asked why i chose this line after doing engineering. No one wanted to hire me because they were concerned that i would leave if i got a job in the IT field. It was very hard for me to explain my interest in Neuro Technology and subsequently getting the job.
Tell us about your career path
I started my career at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital and worked there for 3 years. After that I got opportunity to work in Saket City Hospital and worked there for 2 years.
In my work in the hospital, I had started a new lab with Electroencephalography(EEG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity study (NCV) machines which are beneficial for long term and short term monitoring (Video EEG) of patients with neurological disorder and epilepsy.
After working 5 years in the medical field I got selected in the National Brain Research Centre(NBRC) as MEG Technician at “Centre for Research in Epilepsy” (a joint collaboration of National Brain Research Centre, Manesar and All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi, New Delhi) sanctioned by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, using Magnetoencephalography (MEG) for brain research at the National Brain Research Centre, India. As MEG Technician I got trained in India as well as USA on how to record and handle the MEG machine to acquire brain signals.
I got an opportunity to learn to work on a new machine, only two of which are available all over India. I feel proud to work as MEG Technician and as the first man to handle this machine in India. After one year as MEG Technician, based on my experience and work performance, I was selected for the position of MEG Technologist. I supervised technicians/ Nurses while preparing and monitoring patients through MEG procedures; performing MEG/EEG recordings on patients and providing a safe testing environment by preventing risks of falling or injury. I also documented neurological disorders, medical contra-indications, implanted devices and any allergies of patients.
As Technologist I process the MEG data by applying filters, co-registration, average data and designed montages, storing data appropriately, and submitted factual MEG/EEG findings which were visually identified and confirmed with clinical Neurophysiologist and Epileptologist.
I also got a chance to write for a publication as 2nd author in ” Can ictal-MEG obviate the need for phase II monitoring in people with drug-refractory epilepsy? A prospective observational study”, Elsevier seizure 45(2017) 17-23. and poster presentation ‘9th Asian Epilepsy Surgery Congress (ESC) & 10th Indian Epilepsy School Conference’, in Udaipur 2015.
At the same time I got an opportunity to learn and work on new equipment like high density EGI system and Nexstim TMS.
While working in National Brain Research Centre, I got the opportunity to start a Neurophysiology Lab in Maldives at Tree Top Hospital, So I grabbed the opportunity to utilize my experience and education at a global level.
I am always excited and eager to learn new things and techniques to increase my knowledge and utilize them in my working life.
Where do you work now?
I am working at TreeTop Hospital in Maldives.
In the previous lab we had a team to tackle tasks together. But here in Tree Top Hospital I have installed and set up all the machines and fixed the standard values for every machine and made the standard operating procedure (SOP) for all machines.
What skills are needed for job? How did you acquire the skills?
In addition to studying Engineering and the DCNT program I have put in my full efforts in learning things from the root level.
What is it you love about this job?
I spend extra time to learn and become more confident, which helps me accomplish tasks independently. I feel proud and happy that i did something for the day and that feeling brings a smile on my face.
How does your work benefit the society?
As I already mentioned I’m working in the medical field, here I do pediatrics test. So parents feel happy, otherwise they have to go abroad for basic EEG test.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
Neurophysiology is a very vast and exciting field to learn because it helps the society in many ways through your work as technician or engineer in the hospital or in the research field. Give respect to your work and guide your colleagues and juniors for a better future.
My future plan is to learn more and share my experiences in new places and start a new lab with new innovative ideas.