Melanie works as a Combined Lab X-ray Technician (CLXT) in rural Saskatchewan in an integrated facility. Being a CLXT involves collecting samples from patients and then running any applicable tests that the requisitions ask for, following up with clerical work and packing up the samples to be batch tested in bigger centres. She also performs X-rays. They still work with older equipment so she also adds chemicals to the machines to keep them operational.
She cares for 10-20 patients per day with a variety of steps, depending on what the requisitions ask for. The best part of her job is her patients. She knows the importance of putting them at ease and loves getting to know them and learning about their lives.
Melanie has known that she wanted to be a CLXT since she was a little girl. While on holidays, her brother broke his arm and they ended up in the hospital to have it looked at. She saw the X-ray Technician walk out with a picture of her brother’s arm and just knew that she wanted to do that job when she grew up.
Working through the pandemic has been a struggle. She has kids that aren’t able to be vaccinated that she wants to protect. When her unit had an outbreak, she felt awful for the residents. They couldn’t even see each other, let alone family.
She sees the stress her coworkers wear each day. She has seen others go on leaves, with COVID being too much to bear. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is hot and uncomfortable and takes a long time to put it on. Though she is getting tired of wearing the PPE and her patients can't wait to see her smile again, she wears it all - gowns, gloves, masks and face shields - when collecting samples, running tests, and portering patients for X-Rays.
Melanie and her co-workers are trying to figure out a new normal, resigned to the fact that the pandemic isn’t disappearing anytime soon. They don’t get together to visit anymore amongst departments; it feels isolating.
Melanie, we can’t thank you enough for being there on the front lines. You and the other CLXTs across this province are invaluable to the team. We hope one day, your patients can see you smile again.