Clara Poh

Field Services Engineer

Being at the forefront, Clara’s work with hospital equipment may affect life and death.

Do not be afraid to take the initiative.

Share with us what you do as a field services engineer with Philips. Describe a typical day at work.

As a field services engineer, I support clients, such as doctors and nurses, who use Philips equipment in the hospitals, and am involved in the installation and maintenance of Philips medical equipment in hospitals.

I take care of Patient Monitors, machines typically seen next to beds that beep and keep track of patients’ heartbeats, as well as other vitals. This involves four different processes.

First, I play a role in the equipment installation process and will go on-site to install systems when hospitals purchase new equipment. Secondly, I also organise routine performance evaluations on equipment to make sure they are running smoothly.

The next type of work I do is corrective maintenance, which are repairs. As medical equipment is crucial in life and death situations, it is essential that I respond quickly to any calls concerning breakdowns. In certain circumstances, I may even go down to fix equipment in the middle of the night! Lastly, I am involved in field order correction – correction of any hardware or software in the machinery.

What does a typical working day at Philips look like?

My daily schedule usually consists of pre-scheduled maintenance appointments, whether corrective or preventative. I will bring an entire luggage full of tools and testers along with me to hospital, find out what is wrong – if something has gone wrong – and either repair or maintain the equipment.

Because the functioning of the equipment has a direct impact on life and death, it is vital that we verify and document every maintenance or repair I conduct before moving on to the next task of the day.

If I do not have anything else scheduled for the rest of the day, I will instead go down to one of the hospitals and conduct preventative maintenance on the equipment there. This is relatively easier to organise as I can work on the equipment so long as it is not in use.

What do you enjoy the most about working in Philips?

I enjoy how supportive Philips’ culture is, and how much it has made an impact on my daily life. For instance, in my team, the engineers take turns to go on standby for the week. This means that if anything happens to the equipment in the middle of the night, there will always be an engineer ready to go down to the hospital to fix it. If the engineer on standby does not answer the call put through, the next engineer in line will be called, and the next after that until someone either picks up or our manager is called.

There is a strong camaraderie in the team, and we help each other whenever we can. As I am usually on-site alone, there are times where I encounter issues that I may be unable to address or resolve. In this case, I typically turn to my seniors or manager, and they will always help me – even if it is in the middle of the night! I can also turn to the back-end staff who liaise directly with Philips factories to assist in any issues I am unable to fix on my own.

What advice would you give graduates looking to join this industry?

Do not be afraid to take the initiative. As the nature of the job is such that you will often find yourself working on-site alone, you need to take the initiative to learn independently.

Showcase your resourcefulness. For example, I was a part of the student ambassadors’ main committee when I was in polytechnic, and used to volunteer with non-profit organisations. I highlighted my experience and endeavours in these activities as it displayed my willingness to go above and beyond.