From hospital to….. Training and Education Specialist

24 June 2020


Training and Education Specialist

Marco de Ruijter is a Dutch Training and Education Specialist. During his career, he experienced memorable moments at some of the most well-known medical devices companies. Marco is currently in search for a job where he can share his wisdom and expertise to transfer knowledge to next generation. This is the first blog about Marco his career story.

Professional background

I have worked in hospitals at the operation department in Brabant, the Netherlands for 12 years. This resulted that I worked with a lot of doctors and hospital staff or in other words the healthcare industry. I have been stuck in the industry most of my life until my last function where I was the head of the surgery OR medical device department. In this role, I was responsible for eight surgeons and all medical devices for the hospital.

During my career I had a phase where I asked a question to myself: What is the next step in my career? So I started thinking about the possibilities and then the business world came my way. My first job in the business world was at Johnson and Johnson. The position I had was Product Specialist Spine. It took some time getting used to the business world because I came from the hospital environment with a different mindset and goals. Business is different, you work hard, earn more money but make very long days. Targets are set by your manager which you must reach. Sometimes I was wondering, am I going to reach the target? Long story short, business is a tougher world, but I liked it a lot. I enjoyed the freedom I had for almost seven years at Johnson and Johnson. During this seven-year period, I was accountable for the following regions in the Netherlands: North, West and South (70 accounts and 60 product lines). Reflecting on my period as Product Specialist Spine, I think I did it pretty good for my first job in the business world. When I started with the job we had €80.000,- for the department. At the end of my seven-year period, we ended with an amount of €3,2 million. I was also twice granted with an award as the Johnson & Johnson salesperson of the year.  To me that sounds like I was pretty successful. Looking back on my seven-year time period at the Johnson and Johnson, I experienced the other side of the table. This helped me a lot throughout my career and I could apply these experiences as an education specialist.

How did I become a Training and Education Specialist?

I would like to briefly list the intermediate stages I have had in my career. I eventually became an education. Besides getting the necessary papers and diplomas, you use all your experience from in the field for this role. At the beginning, companies and people have asked me if I wanted to give a few presentations, some workshops and eventually some trainings. Then they started to notice that I enjoyed it, that I was a good communicator and could bring over the information very well. This resulted in the fact that I became the International Training Manager for the spine at Johnson and Johnson for five years. In this role, I was responsible for the entire training project both internally and externally for the entire world excluding America. Due to the job I had, I travelled all over the world to give training courses (Australia, Japan, Latin America). This could be training on product training, operating techniques, selling skills, including communication skills, presentation skills and much more. After my job at Johnson & Johnson, where I worked for twelve years, I decided that it was time for a new step in my career. Biomed, which is also an orthopedic company, hired me for almost the exact same role that I had at Johnson & Johnson. My main responsibility here was that I had to structure and professionalise the entire training curriculum. At Biomed, I started with spine following hips, knees, cement, orthobiologics, extremities and trauma. I was able with a team to structure all departments in one training house. All courses consistent and aligned. I did this with a lot of pleasure for five years at Biomed and then I left the company.

The last fulltime job I had was at Bioventus. This is an Amsterdam based company, which is an international office focused on the treatment of joint therapies and fracture management. At Bioventus, I was responsible for setting up the entire education program internal and external. I did this for four years. As an education specialist at Bioventus, I learned that the trainings were very focused on the clinical evidence or studies. Since, I was actively busy with teaching co-workers these studies and trying to communicate with them, I learned a lot from it as well. Unfortunately, the company had a difficult year and the sales were below the target. Therefore, Bioventus had to reduce their costs to survive. The company decided to redundant a large group of functions on the Amsterdam office. This also resulted in the decision made to transfer training back to the US.

Since March 2019, I have registered myself as an independent Contractor/ Training and Education Specialist offering my expertise and skills to companies who have the need for a trainer or educator (projects, interim) but unable to hire a full-time trainer.

However, these companies have ongoing projects and people need to be educated within a specific time. In that case, companies can hire me as their educator. For example, I have worked for Spineart. As self-employed education specialist, I have reviewed the entire training program both internally and externally providing Spineart with a proposal about the training curriculum for 2020. This was the main activity. After that, companies hired me for a number of small projects. To be your own boss has its advantages. However, you miss the structure and being part of a company. That is why I am now looking for a new challenge or next step in my career, which I can share my knowledge, my experiences and expertise to develop and strengthen the company.

This was my career story in a nutshell, in the upcoming weeks I will be working on a new blog for the medical devices community to share my story. Thanks for reading and until the next time!


We want to thank Marco the Ruijter for his time and sharing his experiences. If you have any comments on Marco’s story, or if you want to share your own story, please contact us via info@medicaldevicescommunity.com or +31 630076674. Read blogs provided by our community members here!