"Being able to contribute to a positive change in patients' lives inspires me"

Gordana Veljanoska

"My inspiration always came from something strong and substantial – being able to contribute to a positive change in patients' lives", says Gordana Veljanoska. As Junior Clinical Specialist being with CASCINATION gives her the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to initiate and implement the complete translational process of a medical product.  

Gordana Veljanoska joined CASCINATION for a one-year surgical robotics internship in 2018, right before obtaining her bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and information technology in Skopje (Macedonia). After completing the internship and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in her native country, she moved to Switzerland to continue the collaboration with CASCINATION. Simultaneously she started a master’s degree in the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine in collaboration with the University of Bern.

You studied Telecommunications and Information Technology in your home country of Macedonia and now work for a medical technology company in Switzerland. How did you get in touch with CASCINATION?
My attention was initially drawn to CASCINATION through the international organisation IAESTE. At the time I was almost at the end of my bachelor studies in Telecommunications and Information Technology, and I did not want to stop there. In my mind, there was always the idea of continuing my education with a master’s degree somewhere abroad, where I could challenge myself enough to go out of my comfort zone.

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?
I was never exceptionally attached to the area of my studies. So I decided to first explore different industries and gain experience. I was literally checking out the IAESTE internship website while having a coffee with my sister, when I found this extremely tempting internship offer in surgical robotics at CASCINATION. My sister, who happens to be a doctor, got very intrigued and said: “Wow this is an amazing opportunity, why don’t you go for it? It’s not your specialty, but who knows, maybe you will like it”. Sure enough, I applied, and CASCINATION’s response meant a whole new beginning for me. And in fact I did like it better.

What was your first impression of Switzerland?
Culturally, it seemed very different from what I was used to in Macedonia: Mostly differences in lifestyle, mindset, habits and cuisine. This made my journey much more challenging. However, working in an international and open-minded company like CASCINATION helped me a lot to feel like home, and I am very grateful for the immense and continuous support that I received from CASCINATION on many different aspects from the beginning until now. Furthermore, it brings a great value and better quality of life to speak the native language of the country where you live, and it’s also a way of showing respect to the native people. Therefore, I am daily working on improvement of my German skills, making a slow, but continuous progress in order to integrate as much as possible.

What inspired you to work in the field of medical technology?
Medical technology always fascinated me, whether it was discussions with my sister or watching Grey's Anatomy on TV. I never really saw myself working in an IT company. My motivation and inspiration always came from something much stronger and substantial – being able to contribute to a positive change in the life of a human being.

Can you give a brief overview of what you do as Clinical Specialist?
The beauty of working in a small company as a very curious person, is that you can work in various projects and learn from different departments. My tasks are very diverse, and I enjoy working close with both R&D and Regulatory department. I am diving more and more into clinical and regulatory affairs, I am involved in medical writing, performing verification and validation testing on the medical devices onsite but also in a laboratory and clinical setting, and last but not least identifying user needs. Besides, my master's program covers all relevant aspects of the medical device translational process– i.e., entrepreneurial know-how in addition to all basic scientific, clinical, and technical knowledge. This enables me to be involved in the market approval process of the medical devices in the company and to acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge to initiate and implement the complete translational process of a medical product.