Nikki Cole B.Sc C.Eng. FIET. FIoD and Member of Strategic Industry Advisory Board, Canterbury Christ Church University, reflects on her own career, while providing her thoughts for the future of Engineering, and why it is an exciting area to work within.
The thing about an Engineering degree is that it is extremely versatile and applicable in almost every industry.
I began my career as an Avionics Engineer, working on aircraft, including planes that varied from Boeing passenger plans, to the Hawk military jet, through exciting projects that covered Fuel Management Systems and Engine Management Systems.
I then transitioned into the IT Industry, when my son was born helping a broad selection of industries, improving their business performance, quality, timeliness and levels of customer satisfaction.
Towards the end of my career, I found myself as a Chairman in an NHS Hospital Trust and have turned my attention to technology within healthcare. This is an exciting area of Engineering that can have some life-changing effects for patients with a variety of medical conditions. Some of these technologies include Neurofenix, GP at Hand, Streams, as well as the overall philosophy behind digital health.
The UK NHS and UK Industry are investing in engineering UK specific preventative measures to improve health, using digital technologies, rather than relying on “fixing” health issues as they arise. In the USA, great strides have been made in this area, largely driven by private health insurance companies who have the understanding that healthy people are less likely to make a claim on their insurance!
However, here in the UK NHS we too are embracing new technology. Neurofenix believe upper limb recovery after stroke is unacceptably poor. A multidisciplinary team of highly qualified and motivated professionals worked together with stroke survivors, their families, therapists and physicians to design an easy to use upper-limb training device. The Neurofenix NeuroBall was the result, and can be used with little or no supervision, making it ideal for stroke survivors to do essential daily exercises whilst enjoying computer games.
Streams, which was developed in partnership with technology company DeepMind, uses a range of test result data to identify which patients could be in danger of developing AKI (Acute Kidney Injury) and means doctors and nurses can respond in minutes rather than hours or days – potentially saving lives. More than 26 doctors and nurses at the Royal Free Hospital are now using Streams and each day it is alerting them to an average of 11 patients at risk of acute kidney injury.
If you are interested in Engineering as a career, I encourage you to look into it further and be a part of an exciting future that improves the chances and choices of individuals, and society as a whole.
For more on my personal story, and where my career has taken me, visit my profile on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkicole/.
This article is one of a series of Thought Leadership pieces related to Christ Church University’s aspirations to become a leading institution working with Engineering-related Businesses, while generating newly qualified Engineers in the South East of England.