STEM and Hospitals – Catherine Salvato

Many people think of STEM, and think of chemists, computer programmers, engineers, or mathematicians. But STEM encompasses so many different careers, many of them inside hospitals. Hospitals are prime employers for STEM educated students. And not all of them require college or advanced degrees.

Everyone working inside a hospital touches technology in one way or another. Technology is the mechanism by which a hospital properly cares for its patients, while keeping safety and timeliness in the forefront of care.  When you think of a hospital, you may initially think of physicians and nurses. These positions are prevalent in a hospital setting and certainly use STEM principles day-to-day.  Nurses and physicians give care directly to patients, but there are also many other positions with an indirect, yet still very important impact on patient care.

Bayhealth recently undertook the task of implementing an electronic health record (EHR). This health record will better enable the hospital, and all of its counterparts, to care for patients. The new health record, named EPIC, created nearly one hundred jobs at Bayhealth, all in the surrounding technology fields. The project employed both developers and analysts who built the system, but also evaluated its usage from billing to coding to how systems communicate. The program allows physicians and other medical staff to access patients’ records immediately, allowing for seamless transition of care across the continuum. Furthermore, the program now allows patients to access their own health records, and even schedule their own appointments with some Bayhealth Medical Group providers. That’s putting technology in the hands of the consumer, ensuring they have the power over their own healthcare.

While the EPIC project has been instrumental, there are so many day-to-day jobs within our hospital that utilize STEM principles. Bayhealth employs clinical engineers who work around the clock to make sure all of the hospital’s equipment is working. The laboratory employs technicians and phlebotomists. Diagnostic Imaging utilizes technicians employing the latest technology with 3D mammography and open MRIs. The pharmacy employs pharmacists and technicians using state-of-the-art robotic equipment to deliver patient medication in the most effective and timely manner.

Our Information Technology team keeps all of our equipment online while also securing private patient information.  We recently unveiled a brand new infant tracking system to make sure new bundles of joy are secure within the hospital. Not only does the system keep mom and baby connected, it allows medical staff to know the baby’s precise location throughout the hospital. Our public safety team relies on state-of-the-art technology to monitor our facilities and keep our patients and our staff safe. We recently created a new position focusing on hazardous materials, and how best to deal with them.

As a hospital, the number one goal is to meet the need of every patient that enters the building. That means for today and tomorrow. As leaders in the health care industry part of our job to look ahead, and foresee future needs and determine how we can accomplish them.

Who knows when or where the next Einstein, Florence Nightingale or Bill Gates will emerge?  What young mind will benefit from STEM education and discover the cure for diabetes or cancer. Which youthful researcher will formulate the medication that will reduce or eradicate the debilitating effects of Alzheimer ’s disease?  We might never find out if the leaders and teachers of today do not inspire the professionals of tomorrow!


Catherine Salvato: A nurse leader providing results-oriented health care over a 35-year professional career of leadership, managerial and clinical practice. My goal is to use my management and training skills to profitably grow a business unit within a dynamic team-oriented healthcare organization. Key strengths result in increased profitability, long-term relationships with customers, and increased market share. Career high point has been partnering in the acquisition of a small Delaware based nursing company and growing it into an award winning health care training organization.

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