National Medical Laboratory Week continues and here in LMP, we are taking some time to get to know a variety of the laboratory professionals that work in our laboratory at UHN.
What is your position?
I am a Medical Laboratory Technician.
What do you do here?
The position as a Medical Laboratory Technician here at UHN consist of many duties…I rotate to three different work sites two of which are at TGH and the other at the Princess Margaret. My duties consist of customer service, accessioning fresh and formalin fixed specimen, troubleshooting any existing problems, preparing cassettes for the PA’s for grossing, discarding of specimen, lab maintenance, setup of stainers, maintenance of the tissue processors and the filing of blocks and slides as needed just to name a few.
Why did you get into Lab medicine?
My first encounter with a Medical Laboratory Technician was during a visit to my family doctors office. This particular visit required me to do some blood work, but rather than being petrified of having a needle penetrate my skin – a wave of excitement and curiosity came over me as I wanted to know how I could learn to do phlebotomy and this became the stepping stone to becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician.
How did you get started at UHN?
I had been working part-time in another facility when I saw the vacancy for a fulltime technician posted on the UHN website. I knew it was a long shot, but I went for it anyway, I called the lab here at UHN to inquire as to who the supervisor was, and learned it was Diana Booth. I contacted her and I was able to discuss my interest in the position and wondered if it was still vacant. Diana told me to submit my resume, shortly after I was called in for an interview and was able to meet with Diana and a senior technologist for an interview, after my first interview I was again invited to meet with the lab manager, Laurie Mason. I can’t express how grateful I am in being given this opportunity. I have been employed here at UHN for 15 months now.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I can honestly say that my favorite part of my job is being part of a team that puts patient care first. Never overlooking any problems, but being thorough in following through to maintain accuracy and efficiency for a quality standard that never waivers.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I would have to say one challenge that I have with this position has to do with the manner in which we sometimes receive some of the specimens.., however management is currently working in collaboration with the various departments to resolve the issues.
What value would you say you add to patient care?
I always reflect on how if the roles were changed and I was the patient. I think that I would hope that they would be providing the best possible care in handling of my specimen that would help to provide the most accurate results possible, and that is what I commit to when dealing with specimens. I understand the seriousness of each case and that the balance of someone’s life depends on the manner in which you handle and prioritize your workflow.
National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab?
I would like the general public to know just how essential the work is that we provide in the lab, the information that is obtained from the various results that we submit to their family physician is considered to be a primary tool in aiding to determine the course of treatment needed.
Technology has become so advanced that certain test results can be ready for the same day, and the work done by the pathologist is so vital that while the patient is on the operating table, the pathologist is able to review slides prepared from fresh tissue and then informs the surgeons of their findings which in turn helps the surgeon to decide on their next medical decision. Everything is interconnected and work together for the greater good.