Although your encounter with them at the hospital may be over in a pinch, medical lab technicians (lab techs) play an important role in your health care. Lab techs visit patients across the hospital to collect blood samples to help health care providers diagnose their patients and develop treatment plans.
April 24 to 30 is Medical Lab Week and GRH is celebrating the often unrecognized work of these very important staff members. Please read below about one of our lab techs and how he plays an important role in the hospital and why he loves doing it.
Although he has only been at Grand River Hospital for three years, Frank DeRosa is a proud member of our health care team. He enjoys being able to help patients receive medical help and the treatment they need. Although he is the only male blood collector in the hospital, he always smiles when people say, “I’ve never had a man take my blood before, please be gentle".
1. How do you support patients in the hospital?
Lab techs are one of the first people to see patients once they arrive at the hospital or cancer centre. We collect blood samples from the patient and send them to the lab for testing. This helps the patients move quickly through our system so they can get the proper diagnosis and treatment that they may require.
2. How do you support our patients who are afraid or anxious to have their blood taken?
I always start with a calming voice and reassure them that it will be quick and they will only feel a little pinch. I then ask them to take a few deep breathes. I count to three and on the third exhale I draw the blood. After I am done I sometimes say, "See, I didn't feel a thing!" and they laugh or I may say during the blood draw if I see them holding their breath that it is ok to start breathing now.
3. Why is your work so vital to them?
We are a vital part of the team as we help get the proper diagnosis so that their doctor can give them a treatment plan. We are also an important part of the stroke team to meet the patient on arrival to draw blood since the drug they require is very time sensitive.
4. What do you love about your job?
I love meeting all the different types of people, from newborn babies to the 101 year old in the emergency department. I am able to interact with them and leave with the feeling that I have helped them in some way with their visit at the hospital.
5. How is your role as a lab tech in the cancer centre different than in other areas of the hospital?
My role is different because of the nature of the disease the patients have. Some come in and they are just starting their journey and some are fighting for their lives. I try to treat them with extra care and compassion, and if they need to sit an extra few minutes I just listen to what they have to say. The most difficult part is when you hear that treatment has failed and they have passed away. That always make me stop and reflect on my own life.
6. Why did you choose your job?
I chose this field because I like to help others and bring them a little joy with a smile or a kind word of concern. I always wanted to work in the health field and now I have that chance and enjoy my days at work. I love to meet new people every day or the same patients on different days. I remember walking at grocery store and a lady came up to me and said “You took blood from my baby when I was in emergency department, thanks for doing such a good job and putting me at ease.” The best reward of all is when you get a compliment for doing your job well.