Tazeen, did you choose the Right Profession?

Aug 20, 2022 | CED_info

Tazeen Bukhari


“Tazeen, did you choose the right profession? Did we make the right decision? Have you looked at the opportunities in Pakistan?”, asked my worried mother showing concerns based on the limited career opportunities and scope in Pakistan as I was about to finish my degree in the UK. Of course, the patriot in me had to come back. I came to Pakistan right after my graduation in 2012, a scared 23 years old, unsure of what the future holds.


In a country like Pakistan, being a clinical engineer, at the time, had its own challenges. Most of the employers preferred hiring male counterparts, since they believed females won’t be able to cope with the nature of the job which includes extensive travelling, dealing with male dominated government offices and long working hours. Luckily, within a month I found a job at one of the most prestigious hospitals in Pakistan. I thought, “Great! I did make the right decision after all”. But who knew this was the first of many challenges that I had to face head on.


Day 1, I stepped into the maintenance lab and all I could see were reservations on the faces of my fellow colleagues. Confused, I looked at my supervisor who came out of his office smiling, “You are first and only female in the department in 10 years, right?”.


In the coming days, I could see strangers, passersby and colleagues with concerns and sympathy who seemed sure that I wouldn’t be able to last even a month in this male dominated department. One of the Doctors was surprised and could not hold himself from asking, “Huh? What does a girl have to do with a screwdriver?”. All of these incidents happened almost 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then.


In Pakistan and around the world there are quite a few successful women engineers, however, still women engineers are outnumbered by men. Moreover, as clinical engineering is relatively new, compared to other traditional forms of engineering, that makes it even hard to break into this male dominated field.


Today I received a 10 year anniversary pin from my university. It made me think about how clinical engineering has changed in Pakistan. Awareness towards the field has increased. Attitude have changed. Now, a lot of female engineers can be seen in the field working as service engineers, planning experts, regulatory personnel and in procurement.


Clinical Engineering is one of the most rewarding and satisfying profession where one ensures safe and appropriate use of medical technology for best patient outcomes. Hence, It is essential for us to create a positive working environment for our children and to encourage them in the field of clinical engineering and make it more accessible to them.

Image credits: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan from Zarmina shahid Hussain