Anita is a Senior Medical Lab Assistant (MLA) and has been for the past 15 years. She works in an urban acute care facility.

Anita works with her team; they unpack, organize & order labels for COVID samples that arrive from all over the province - from Prince Albert to Watrous to Biggar. The team receives blood and urine samples province wide; they check, label and distribute these to the department that is doing the particular tests. They also send samples out of province and out of country to be tested, as needed. Anita and her team will work on average of 1,000 but to up to 1,800 COVID swabs a day.
While there is a Phlebotomy team, MLAs are often called upon to assist the phlebotomists to get the work done as well. MLAs also answer phones with people requesting their results and do a LOT of paperwork and reports.
During COVID a challenge was presented when they brought in extra staff (yay) to help with COVID samples, as the staff were restricted due to physical space. They had to find a space outside of the lab. This took some time.
Anita was quick to point out that the whole team works incredibly well together and thinks the work of the members in the office is integral to their success. They answer phones all day requesting results, deal with daily problems, assist the nurses on the wards, print, sort, trouble shoot with doctors that didn’t get their results, find original requisitions and the list goes on. Anita was also in awe of the work of the Phlebotomists. Wearing a face mask and shield all day while bending over to take blood takes a toll. While grateful to have Personal Protective Equipment, face masks slip with sweat while performing care and oxygen is a luxury these days.
When asked what would be a helpful improvement, Anita said it would be great to not have to wear so many hats. While the team is amazing at filling in for each other, it takes longer and isn’t as smooth if it’s not your regular duties you’re performing that day. Hats off (pun intended) to Anita’s incredible team and to all the Lab workers this week. What you do has a huge impact on the lives of everyone here in Saskatchewan. And thank you for all that you do!