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Member Profile: Andrea Tjahja



Andrea is the Education, Safety, Transport and Communications Manager at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario. Graduating from the Michener Institute, Tjahja began her career in cytogenetics as a medical laboratory technologist. She also has a Bachelor of Science from Western University, a Modern Management Certificate from CHA, an occupational health and safety certificate and a Bachelor of Education from Brock University.

WHAT DO YOUR CURRENT DUTIES INCLUDE?

“In my role as education, safety and transport manager I have a broad range of things that I do. I coordinate training and competency programs across the HRLMP (Hamilton Regional

Laboratory Medicine Program). So when we have new hires, instrumentation and methodologies I help the departments to coordinate and make sure they have everything they need for training and competencies. I also coordinate the students and make sure they are placed in appropriate departments for the required amount of time.


In terms of safety, I am in charge of programming for the lab which involves writing and maintaining SOPs, dealing with any safety issues that may arise, and over the past couple of years I have become more involved in bio-safety and bio-security across the program – especially in our microbiology and virology labs.


Because we are such a diverse program we have a fairly dynamic transport system that ships samples across the city. I manage the transportation including the couriers and making

sure everything runs smoothly. My job is really about organization, adaptability and self-driven learning."


WHY ARE YOU A MEMBER WITH MLPAO?

“In all honesty I would say their new leadership. Before when they were OSMT they were very much in the background so I think what they are doing is great. They are really focusing on raising the profile of the lab professional among ourselves, throughout the hospitals as well as through social media.


The other thing that is good about the MLPAO is the lobbying that they are doing with the government. It is all on the provincial level which is where our funding comes from.”


WHAT DOES THE IDEAL FUTURE OF THE MEDICAL LAB FIELD LOOK LIKE TO YOU?

“I think there would be a sustainable number or a sustainable supply of laboratory technicians and technologists – so enough supply to meet the demand.


I would love to see a harmonization between the different schools that have an MLT program so that there is a better mechanism for placing students close to where they are from or where they would like to work. And, of course, the ideal future for the med lab industry

is for technologists and lab assistants to be recognized as important contributors to the health care team. I think we sometimes take a backseat to other healthcare professionals

because we are not at the bedside. That is my blue sky."

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