Interview conducted by Communications Administrator Lauren Hicks
Ances Hercules currently works as a cMLA/TMLPAO at the new Peel Memorial Hospital in pediatric venipuncture. After completing the MLA/T program at Medix College in Toronto. She began working in the Emergency Department of the Brampton Civic Hospital and the Etobicoke General Hospital. While there she acquired her Child Care Certificate. After 7 years, she transitioned to working in strictly pediatrics.
WHAT DO YOUR CURRENT DUTIES INCLUDE?
My specialization is in pediatrics and I mainly do direct patient care. My main duty is blood draw – so pediatric venipuncture. It was definitely a choice of mine to get into pediatrics. Children capture my heart and brighten up my day. Child development skills are a big part of what I do. So just the idea of knowing what distraction techniques and comfort techniques to use with what specific age demographic. So first I would assess the child’s age and then I would choose from either sucrose (to comfort small babies), “magic spray” (freezing spray), or iPads. I always go in with a smile. And I find toddlers really like singing their favourite songs, so I sing with them too.
Here at Peel Memorial Hospital we run an outpatient multi-clinic which is for women and children. I mostly work on the ped side of things, but I also work on the women’s side. It is mostly phlebotomy, but I also do point of care testing which is very unique to our role as MLA/Ts. So, we do urinalysis and stuff like that. I also do the background work so keeping track of documents and maintaining equipment like the centrifuge, urine analyzer and microscopes.
I am also casual at Sick Kids in Toronto and I do mainly phlebotomy there.
WHY ARE YOU A MEMBER WITH THE MLPAO?
MLPAO! Oh they are fantastic. They advocate for us. They advocate for MLA/Ts and MLTs. They are a big voice for us, and they are definitely heading in the right direction to make some essential impacts for our future and for me, in particular, as an MLA/T in Ontario.
WHAT DOES THE IDEAL FUTURE OF THE MEDICAL LAB FIELD LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
For me it is mostly about gaining more recognition for our role and the importance of our role. I think that is one of the main issues with the medical laboratory career/profession – I wouldn’t say that we are under appreciated but it is mostly just gaining that recognition for the importance of our role. You know whether that be the patient care or the behind the scenes work just gaining that appreciation for what it is we do.
When you picture the medical field, you always just think “doctors and nurses”. So that is where you feel almost under appreciated. And I have heard the same thing for 10 years so I am not sure if it is a lack of knowledge, a lack of appreciation for us, or what it is but that is definitely something I would like to see for our profession.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO A CURRENT STUDENT IN AN MLA/T OR MLT PROGRAM, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?
I would tell them that whether they decide to do direct patient care (like me) or indirect patient care, you are still a huge part in making a difference in the patient’s life. I think, either way, it will still be challenging but the rewards stomp over it all. I would also tell them that there are many many opportunities being in our career. Whether you are in the hospital or the community, it is a very team-based profession. Sometimes you will feel underappreciated but just know you make a difference every day.