Housed on the ground floor of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, the Clinical Laboratory is a place not-often visited. But for the 141 staff that work there, that’s ok. Because being tucked away means they can get down to work – and there’s a lot of work to do. For instance, in the last year, from the Emergency Department alone, there were 70,967 phlebotomy collections. Hospital surgical pathology specimens totaled 20,815. And 29,465 urinalyses were completed.
“We are experts in testing,” said Georgia Carr, Manager, Clinical Laboratory. “From haematology to biochemistry to pathology, we do it, and we do it exceptionally well. This past year we were recognized for our hard work with a ISO15189 Plus certification from the Institute for Quality Management in Health Care, which is the lab’s governing body.”
So when the opportunity presented itself for lab staff to receive a $500 scholarship to further their professional development, several people jumped at the chance. “There was a great deal of excitement in our department when we heard about the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Fund,” said Carr.
Created thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Lyla Rathbone and through memorial gifts made in Dr. Rathbone’s honour, an Endowment Fund was established. Dr. Rathbone was a well-known and respected physician; most fondly remembered in the community as the coroner.
Specifically, the Fund provides money to laboratory staff for continuing education. In its inaugural year, three recipients were chosen to receive $500 each. They were David Nurse, Pathology Assistant, Sandra Trevisanutto, Haematology/Transfusion Medicine Coordinator and Brad Leishman, Secretary/Clerical Supervisor.
“I’m so delighted for these three very deserving recipients,” enthused Carr. “Each of them has different interests and this scholarship will allow them to pursue further education which they will use in their role here at the Health Sciences Centre.”
Nurse plans to use his scholarship to take a specialized course in anatomical pathology through the Michener Institute that will enhance his capabilities in the lab. “I’ve always been interested in science, particularly human anatomy and physiology and disease/health of the human body. Medical laboratory technology presented a career in which I could combine these interests and, albeit indirectly, help in patient care. This scholarship gives me the opportunity to advance my skills and improve the care I provide.”
For Trevisanutto, the scholarship presented the opportunity to keep up with changing technology through enrollment in a course entitled ‘Principles and Clinical Applications of Flow Cytometry’. Said Trevisanutto, “I’ve worked in the lab for 25 years and, in that time, so much has changed. It’s important to me that I continue to lead my staff with confidence and keeping up with my education is paramount to this.”
Leishman has a decidedly more administrative goal; he plans to use the scholarship to prepare for and challenge the national certification exam for the Canadian Health Information Management Association. “I have a personal interest in records management,” said Leishman, “and I believe that further study in this field will be a benefit to my current role and the clinical lab as a whole.”
Each recipient was extremely grateful to have received the award and is looking forward to embarking on their education journey.
Concluded Carr, “It really is an honour that the Rathbone family chose to make continuing education for the laboratory staff a priority. They had the foresight to set up this endowment, and today, we’ve been able to realize their vision – one that I hope will continue for many years to come.”