Shannon worked in an Acute Care Lab Facility doing Microbiology Bacteria/Seriology until this week.
Shannon loved her job which consisted of receiving and processing various specimens (ex. sputum’s, feces, blood, urine, tissues) to investigate for organisms that cause bacterial infections. Her job also involved further testing for suitable antibiotics for doctors to prescribe to their patients. Fairly regularly these involved working with and reporting out superbugs.
Workload has changed, as you might imagine given the global pandemic with COVID. Even before that, the volume of the workload was crushing because of the intensity of each specimen workup. These superbugs require increased testing which dramatically increases the workload. Their staffing levels haven’t kept pace with this increase. Beyond the diagnostic testing, she also trained laboratory students and pathology residents on a regular basis.
Currently, their department processes approximately 1500 COVID tests per day. This is on top of their routine diagnostic testing of about 5000 specimens performed daily. If that didn’t make workload heavy enough, the variants of concern (VOC’s) have added another layer of work. It's amazing that throughout this, morale has kept up in her department but frustration is at its maximum.
Shannon has truly loved the challenge of her work. She has found it very interesting and highly rewarding. Her laboratory career has spanned various locations into the NWT as well as in Saskatchewan. Previous to her career in diagnostic microbiology, she worked in hematology, transfusion medicine and chemistry. She will be joining her husband, who was also a Medical Laboratory Technologist, in retirement.
As she leaves the job she’s loved for the last 29 years, her wish is that there are more licensed MLT’s (Medical Laboratory Technologists) hired and integrated to make up for the large exit of skilled and experienced staff. 5 MLT’s are leaving that department this year alone. The loss of the knowledge and experience will be felt. We are sad to see Shannon leave but excited for her well deserved retirement!