Member in Action

Rick Schrenker is a Redeemer person in action doing God’s work in the world as a Systems Engineer.

Pastor Cindy: “Rick, would you answer a few questions about your work? What is your title and what do you do? Who are the people you meet daily? How do you see yourself living out your Christian vocation in the work you do?”

Rick: My job title is “Systems Engineering Manager”. It involves a laundry list of duties that are grounded in applying my educational background as an electrical engineer with almost 38 years in various clinical engineering roles to provide system-level engineering input and support to my engineering, technical, and clinical colleagues, both where I work and in the broader medical device industry. Within that broad scope, I focus on medical device system safety, quality assurance, and risk management.

My work has taken me into the nooks and crannies of high acuity health care. I’ve worked on engineering and technical problems both for and in ICUs, ORs, ERs, OB units, cancer centers, you name it. I wasn’t in the field very long before the expression “there but for the grace of God go I” started coming to mind. At some point, the thought “here with the grace of God go we all” came and replaced it. Another short meditation that’s engraved on a wall in the hospital where I work reminds me every time that I pass it that “the secret of the care for the patient lies in caring for the patient”. Over time, I came to be pleasantly surprised at how broadly those short meditations applied. It’s relatively easy to remind yourself of them in the hustle and bustle of an OR or ICU, but it’s just as relevant, if not more so, when working through the conflicts that arise in that daily grind of choosing which project and programs to fund, what tradeoffs to consider when making design decisions, or even how to word safety standards that balance the needs of manufacturers, regulators, and users of medical devices. But what strikes me even more is how the perspective they provide applies to all activities across the enterprise, not just at the patient-clinician interface. Housekeeping, food services, building maintenance, accounting and finance, human resources, and many more; they all make caring happen.

And not just in hospitals.