Ok, back for more…
Blood banking is my favorite area by far, like you, featherlou. In the blood bank, we test blood types and look for unexpected antibodies that could cause a transfusion reaction if we gave the patient a blood transfusion. In that area of the lab, we crossmatch units of blood for surgery, bleeding patients, anyone who needs it. We also thaw out units of plasma, and store and give out platelets as needed. It’s a stressful area of the lab, because a mistake can kill a patient, but I like the work very much. When a patient has an antibody, it’s like a puzzle to identify which antibody is present, and I love the feeling of victory when I solve it.
In my lab, the urinalysis bench is combined with the microbiology section, for the evening shift. I dip a test strip into the urine specimens and let an analyzer read the colors that appear, telling me if there’s blood, or bacteria, or sugar in the urine, or anything else that shouldn’t be there. Then I confirm everything under a microscope. And as time permits, I take microbiology specimens to the back and plate them out under the biological safety cabinet - stool, urine, sputum, body fluids, and swabs from wounds, mostly. I put them into the right incubators and then the day shift looks at them the next day.
Br’er Lapin, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a micro-only job, if it’s what you’re looking for. Often a hospital will only have day shift micro, though, and rarely evening, so there are fewer jobs than if you were looking at being a generalist. But although most labs are edging towards a more generalist-type lab, micro and the blood bank seem to usually exist as separate entities, with different management and different atmospheres than the core lab.
featherlou** - Can’t say that I’ve noticed very much difference between healthcare here and back home in Canada, at least not from the lab point of view. The instrumentation is the same, the management of the lab is about the same, and the way the rest of the hospital leaves us in our basement dungeon and forgets about us is exactly the same. Fewer outpatients for phlebotomy, though, in this hospital, probably because of the existence of places like Quest where you can go for your blood tests. Back home most people would come to the hospital for blood tests, and our outpatient area could see up to 300 patients a day. Here, we get 20 on a busy day.
People never call me “nurse”, I suppose because I refuse to wear scrubs. I hate the things. I have my lab coat but I never wear it outside the lab. I guess people who see me in the hallways at night must think I’m someone from HR who likes to work late.