TBRHSC Laboratory Staff Awarded Scholarships for Continuing Education

Laboratory staff at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre were presented with scholarships for continuing education thanks to an Endowment Fund created in memory of Dr. Douglas Rathbone, a well-known Thunder Bay physician. Pictured (L to R) Brenda Voth, Raymond Zuliani, Georgia Carr, Chelsea Alexander, Paula Ferguson and Yutong Liu.

Clinical laboratory testing plays an essential role in the delivery of quality health care. In an ever-changing, complex scientific field, continued education is essential for laboratory staff to keep pace with advances in medicine and to maintain high proficiency in their work.

“Medical laboratory professionals work behind the scenes fulfilling crucial healthcare roles including performing, interpreting and reporting test results required for physicians to be able to determine diagnosis and treatment decisions,” explains Georgia Carr, Manager of Laboratory Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). “Close to 85% of the patient’s medical record is diagnostic test results.”

Thanks to the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Fund, well-deserving Laboratory Services staff at TBRHSC are now being awarded funds to contribute to continuing education or professional development pertaining to the field of medical laboratory science and/or job-relevant health-related fields.

Through an endowment to honour her husband, Dr. Douglas Rathbone, Lyla Rathbone, created the Dr. Douglas Rathbone Scholarship Fund. Dr. Rathbone was a prominent Thunder Bay physician and former coroner, who valued continued education and believed there was always something more to learn.

In 2021, there were nine successful recipients of the scholarship: Chelsea Alexander, Dayna Chambers, Christina Deleo, Paula Ferguson, Kylie Gregory, Yutong Liu, Katelynn Scheuerman, Brenda Voth and Raymond Zuliani.

There was no shortage of gratefulness from this group as they shared their plans to put the scholarship to good use.

“With the help of this scholarship, I chose to enroll in a program about preventing pre-analytical errors,” explains Christina Deleo. “I want to learn how to prevent possible errors that can be introduced into specimens during collection, transportation, testing, and storage that can alter test results, so that I can provide the best patient care.”

Similarly, several of the recipients have chosen to sign up for courses in flow cytometry, medical terminology and leadership development through various Ontario colleges.

After working for 22 years as a phlebotomist, Paula Ferguson is grateful for the opportunity that this scholarship has provided. “Being a successful applicant of the Rathbone Scholarship has motivated me to attempt my Medical Lab Assistant (MLA) certification. Obtaining this certification will potentially open new job opportunities for me,” she shares.

Like Paula, Chelsea Alexander and Raymond Zuliani will be dedicating their scholarship winnings towards the MLA certification.

Kylie Gregory will be using her award towards the Medical Laboratory Technologist Program. “I’ve always wanted to help people, and I think the best way to achieve that goal is to become a technologist. I am excited to start school in the fall!”