“The moment medical technology leads to something very human: patients smiling again. This is the moment we work for.” This ZEISS Moment touches the heart. ZEISS also uses it in promotional materials. But what exactly is the connection between ZEISS and advances in medicine? ZEISS is a pioneer in the field of optics, which is why doctors around the world use ZEISS visualization systems to improve their patients’ quality of life. These technologies enable the early and reliable diagnosis of diseases, ideally as a preventative measure or to facilitate treatment and healing. The broad portfolio includes ophthalmic systems and implants, visualization capabilities for neuro, ENT and spine surgery as well as gynecology, and extends to dental microscopes and loupes along with intraoperative radiotherapy systems.
“At first I didn’t know that ZEISS also offers a system for radiotherapy,” admits Swetlana Lorenz. But now she is all caught up. As a development engineer, she has spent the past three years working on optimizing the ZEISS INTRABEAM 600, a fully integrated and networked treatment platform for intraoperative radiotherapy. “Intraoperative means ‘during surgery.’ Treating a tumor disease usually first requires surgery to remove the tumor. Following the operation and once the wound has successfully healed, up to 30 external radiotherapy sessions are necessary. With the ZEISS INTRABEAM 600, the radiation is administered immediately after surgery. This means that the tumor bed is irradiated in the OR directly at the open incision,” explains Lorenz, who holds a degree in medical engineering. The benefit of this approach: it reduces treatment time and preserves healthy tissue. “Depending on the location of the tumor in the body, a different applicator is used, enabling customized treatments,” says Lorenz. “I was involved in the entire development process, from the first sketch all the way to the product launch for the INTRABEAM 600. It was a great experience!”
Swetlana Lorenz is particularly inspired by the fact that her job allows her to do something that she finds fun, challenges her and helps other people – all at the same time. “No two days are alike, and it seems there are constantly new challenges. Our development department is told what our customers need, and the product is developed and then tested based on this information. We work as an interdisciplinary, cross-functional team. The approval requirements for medical technology are extremely stringent. You have to consider all potential risks from the very beginning,” she reports. Extreme caution and fastidious work are top priorities. “Ultimately, people’s lives are at stake. Suboptimal quality or improper documentation can mean that a system will not be approved for a particular country. Of course, unexpected situations like changes to standards or a part becoming unavailable do arise. Ultimately, however, something good and worthwhile comes of this – that’s what motivates me,” she says, smiling.
Her interest in the natural sciences led Lorenz to study medical technology after graduating from high school. It’s a strongly interdisciplinary degree that encompasses many different areas, from anatomy to business administration and quality management. She used ZEISS microscopes throughout her studies. “Up-and-coming medical technology engineers are familiar with the ZEISS brand – the name is synonymous with quality and reliability. I definitely wanted to work for a large, well-known company and have a job making products I could identify with. Naturally, this made ZEISS a particularly attractive employer for me. The fact that I grew up in the region and wanted to stay here proved an additional argument for ZEISS.” Lornenz’ first job was at an external engineering service company that works with ZEISS, which helped her land a position at the company: “My goal from the very beginning was to get a permanent job at ZEISS. When the opportunity arose and a position I was really interested in became available, I jumped at the chance. I’ve now been here for three years – it was definitely the right choice.”
And what is her special ZEISS moment? “Each of our products is exceptional and doesn’t just help our customers, i.e. doctors, but most of all their patients. For me, it’s all about the small ‘wow’ moments that are part of my daily work and continue to fascinate me.” This includes the team spirit and wide range of benefits ZEISS offers as an employer. Lorenz knows that none of these things can be taken for granted: “When I think of ZEISS, a pleasant working atmosphere springs to mind. And this goes beyond just being part of a great team. The modern office space is bright, clean and really well-equipped. Here people understand that motivation is extremely important and accommodating employees’ needs is a must. There are flexible working hours, different offerings to promote good health at work, an excellent cafeteria and cafe, along with many other employee benefits. These are all really important to me. You just can’t improve on the complete package ZEISS offers,” says Lorenz.
Part of what makes it perfect for her is that employees are taken seriously when they decide to embark on a new career path: “As a development engineer, most of my time was spent sitting at a desk. At some point, I felt I needed to get out more and be closer to people.” That’s why Lorenz applied for a position as an application coach that had just been announced – and got it! “That’s something else that makes ZEISS special! You don’t have to look for a new employer if you want to expand your professional horizons. Instead, you check out what’s available at the company,” she explains. Her new position involves training service and sales employees on how to properly use medical systems, with a particular focus on their application. “Of course it’s great because I get to work with our entire, extremely exciting Medical Technology portfolio and learn a lot in the process.” Spending about 40 percent of her time on the road, Lorenz will now be training employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “For me, this is the perfect next step in my professional career. I’m flexible and really love traveling,” says Lorenz. Spotting a ZEISS logo while on vacation always makes her feel at home. “It’s simply great to work for a global company that also stands first and foremost for premium quality. I really enjoy telling others that I work at ZEISS because it makes be incredibly proud,” she concludes, and can’t help but smile again.