2022 Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Recipients Further Education to Support Patient Care

Pictured (L-R): Scholarship recipients holding their awards are Lauren Daberer, Raymond Zuliani, Michelle Morden, Daniel Stilla, Greg Smelt. Centre of the group is Georgia Carr, Manager of Laboratory Services.

The Laboratory Services team at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) provides an essential service in delivering safe, quality health care to patients. These medical laboratory professionals are trained in wide range of procedures, performing tests on biological specimens that help physicians diagnose and treat patients. As science and technology are continually evolving, so too is the field of Laboratory Medicine, necessitating continuing education for laboratory staff.

“Laboratory Medicine is a complex scientific field that is ever-changing,” explains Georgia Carr, Manager of Laboratory Services at TBRHSC. “Medical laboratory professionals need to be proactive in keeping up to date with new technologies and testing, as demonstrated by the global pandemic. It is admirable to see Lab staff at TBRHSC keeping the bar raised high for individual professional development.”

Continuing education is something that Dr. Douglas Rathbone, prominent Thunder Bay physician and former coroner, valued highly. Through an endowment to honour her husband, Lyla Rathbone created the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Fund, which supports Laboratory Services staff at TBRHSC to enroll in relevant continuing education courses or professional development and ease financial burden.

This year, there were ten successful recipients of the scholarship: Brittany Coultis, Lauren Daberer, Jessica Kelly, Meagen Lepage, Yutong Liu, Chelsea Mitchell, Michelle Morden, Greg Smelt, Daniel Stilla and Raymond Zuliani. Several are pursing continuing education programs through the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, in areas like quality systems, laboratory safety, or updating their skills and knowledge in specific diseases. Others are pursuing professional development opportunities by enrolling in higher education.

Yutong Liu, Pathology Clerk, is grateful to be one of the scholarship recipients this year. “This fund encourages me to set higher academic goals and motivate myself to learn valuable skills that I can apply in my day-to-day job,” Liu stated. “I will continue working in the medical field, and, considering it’s a fast-changing environment, this fund is also a strong driving force for me to take on new responsibilities. I am so appreciative of this great opportunity to continue my education, and I am forever grateful to have a supportive team that I work with.”

Daniel Stilla, currently working as a Medical Laboratory Assistant Level III performing pre-analytical testing, will use the scholarship funds towards furthering his education in medical laboratory technology. He emphasizes the importance of Laboratory Science in health care. “Science is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and laboratory technology is at the forefront of the war against lethal pathogens, mutations, and disease,” Stilla remarked. “It is imperative that we encourage our team to advance themselves by furthering education in as many concentrations of the lab as possible, so we can enforce a defensive barrier around our patients. Grasping a greater understanding in the work we do not only improves the quality and efficiency of our analysis, but also recognizing gaps in overall workflow from procurement to final result.”

By improving their knowledge and skills, these health care professionals are demonstrating their commitment to patient care. Scholarship recipient and phlebotomist Brittany Coultis put it best, stating, “Continuing education is important to me because it helps expand my practice to improve patient outcomes. As health care professionals, it helps us stay up to date on the constant changes to improve practices, as well as helps build confidence in our personal abilities to help patients. Continuing my education helps me improve my critical learning skills as well.”

Congratulations to these ten recipients of the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship. Join us in thanking them for their commitment to providing exceptional care for every patient, every time.

You can learn more about Laboratory Services at TBRHSC by visiting https://bit.ly/TBRHSC-Lab-Services