Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Jennifer O’Neill, MLT

National Med Lab Week is  April 20 – April 24, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. Today is Jennifer O’Neill from our Blood Transfusion Laboratory.

Read about Jennifer’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

2015-04-14 14.58.56What is your position? Medical laboratory technologist.

What do you do here? I work in the blood transfusion laboratory.  Our role is to test patient and donor blood to ensure it is compatible and safe for the patient.  We also have to carefully manage our inventory, as blood products are a very valuable, limited resource.

Why did you get into lab medicine? I completed an undergraduate degree in biology and found that I really enjoyed clinical science and immunology so I continued my education in medical laboratory science.  The work is very rewarding and there are always opportunities to learn new things.

How did you get started at UHN? Some of my classmates completed their clinical placements for our laboratory science program at UHN and had a great experience.  When I saw an opportunity available, I jumped at the chance to work here.

What is your favourite part of the job? The hands on work and quick turn around times keep laboratory medicine exciting.  Every day there are new challenges and opportunities to learn.

What is the most challenging part of the job? Time management. We supply blood products to a wide range of hospital areas: operating rooms, transfusion clinics, the ER, and various patient floors; and many of our patients require special considerations for their blood products.  Our lab can be very busy, so staying organized is very important.

What value would you say you add to patient care? Although we do not interact with patients directly, our primary goal is always patient safety.  All the policies and procedures that we follow in the lab are to ensure our products are helping our patients.

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? How much effort is made to ensure test results are accurate and blood products are safe.  We spend a great deal of time on quality control and quality assurance.

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