Stephanie Shiplo, DMS, BMRSc
Chair of the Board for the Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences
“I’m sorry” Peter said, “But this sample just doesn’t make sense, the labels don’t match. If you want it processed, you will need to come down and correct it.”
I remember it clear as day. This was the first time I got a phone call from the lab in the hospital I worked in. As a young sonographer, this call felt very personal. I hung up the phone, feeling like I had failed…failed to do my job, failed my patient, and failed my colleagues, even those who didn’t work next to me every day but were critical in the care team I valued so much.
I headed down to the underbelly of the hospital and knocked on the door to the microbiology lab department. I had arrived at a department rarely seen by our kind in Radiology. As I walked in, I was astounded. To say this place was busy might be an understatement, yet there was a definite air of efficiency and urgency, but no panic or chaos (as observed in other places in the hospital).
The laboratory professional I came down to meet, Peter, who I grew to work closely with over the years, was waiting for me. Although there was some urgency in the matter, he did not question why this had happened or belittle me for my mistake, but rather asked me if I had ever been in the lab before.
I stated that I had not. To be honest, as Medical Radiation Technologists we generally tried to avoid it. Not because of the people, but rather how daunting and complex everything seemed in laboratory medicine. We just simply do not understand the intricacies of the lab. He asked if I had a few minutes, so he could show me around and perhaps make it less daunting.
That day, I learned a life lesson – if you take the time to learn why you are doing things a certain way, you will never worry about the time it takes to do it right. That day, I learned about Electron microscopy specimens, Immunofluorescence, Light Microscopy and more importantly, why doing my part up front made a difference for the lab and the patient.
Read the rest of this article in our Winter 2022 ADVOCATE, with stories of recognition for medical laboratory professionals, both within the lab and from our interprofessional partnerships. Coming soon to your mailbox!
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