Ongoing education and training is crucial to ensure Clinical Laboratory staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) can provide the best patient care. Thanks to the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Fund and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, 15 hardworking individuals from TBRHSC’s lab were awarded scholarships to continue their education and professional development.
Dr. Rathbone was a well-known and respected physician; most fondly remembered in the community as the coroner. He valued the continuing education of laboratory staff and believed there was always something more to learn. Created thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Lyla Rathbone and through memorial gifts made in Dr. Rathbone’s honour, an Endowment Fund was established.
Thanks to the generosity of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, additional funds were allotted this year due to the high number of scholarship applicants. This allowed for more award recipients than in previous years.
The 15 successful recipients of the 2020 Rathbone Scholarship award are Chelsea Alexander, Sarah Asselin, Sara Belec, Rachel Brisson, Dayna Chambers, Brittany Coultis, Kayla Hagstrom, Carly Harris, Meagen Lepage, Lisa Morin, Karina Polson, Lesley Robertson, Katelynn Scheuerman, Madyson Weir and Raymond Zuliani.
For Chelsea Alexander, Quality and Safety Lead in Lab Administration, the award money will be used to enrol in a business course to ensure that she has the tools to succeed in her new role. “I am gradually learning the management side of laboratory services with my new role,” she explained. “Having a vast comprehension of navigating Microsoft Office is a key component to the success of my position.”
Like Chelsea, this scholarship has allowed Raymond Zuliani to take a course that will aid in his success in his role as the Quality and Safety Lead.
For Lisa Morin, shortly after beginning her work in Point of Care Testing (POCT) in 2019, she realized there was a lot to learn. This scholarship was the ticket to taking an introduction course in POCT through the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. “I am grateful for the opportunity to enhance my knowledge of POCT, since this is a rapidly growing area in the acute care setting,” said Morin.
The staff that work in the lab are not shy to share that they love their jobs and many are looking towards the future with goals of advancing in the department one day. For example, Katelynn Scheuerman, Invoicing Clerk III, is using her scholarship winnings towards a General Laboratory Medicine/Science course and Sara Balec, Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT), is enrolled in the Clinical Management Certificate Program at the Michener Institute of Education.
While there are approximately 170 medical laboratory professionals working in laboratory services at TBRHSC, the majority of the lab leadership team is at the age of retirement, which is of concern due to the shortage of lab professionals. Georgia Carr, Manager of Laboratory Services, is doing her part to educate the next generation of laboratory staff by teaching a 6-month long Medical Laboratory Assistant and Quality Management System program for Lab Administration Certification in an effort to help circumvent the critical staffing shortage.
“We encourage our staff to keep moving forward and upgrading their skills to continually provide the best patient care possible and thanks to this scholarship they are able to this,” said Carr. “I’m thrilled these 15 individuals are stepping up to be able to carry the torch when the time comes.”