Med tech, Michele McGee shows nursing staff the incubators in Microbiology.
For the past decade, the Lab Ambassador Program has been linking the Pathology laboratories with University Hospital nursing units. "The program streamlines communication,” explains Clinical Pathology Operations Manager Kristina Martin. Better communication ultimately improves patient safety by allowing nurses and laboratory staff to coordinate efforts to enhance and preserve specimen integrity.
As part of the program, medical technologists from the laboratories serve as lab ambassadors, liaisons to the nursing staff in the clinical care units. "It's amazing because they can see who we are,” says Lab Ambassador Amy Drouillard, a technician in the Microbiology Laboratory. "We're always behind a closed door,” but thanks to the program, nurses have a point person to contact when problems arise. This allows questions to be answered quickly and efficiently.
As part of Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, held each year in April, ambassadors organize lab tours, which are recorded for those who are unable to attend in person. Nursing staff and all other interested parties are invited to see the different labs, meet those who work in them, ask questions, and get a better feel for the impact the labs have on patient care. Feedback from those who have attended tours has been very positive, with suggestions that every nurse should be required to tour the laboratories.
In addition to improving communication between the nursing units on the patient floors and the laboratories, the Lab Ambassador program increases morale by empowering staff and making them feel they are an important part of the larger team.
In addition to Drouillard, the team includes Microbiology's Peggy Mahlmeister and Ashley Powers, Trauma Burn's Ninive Costa, Jazmeen Fortune and Sofia Carro-Hall from Specimen Processing NLNC/ULNC, Tina Gray and Katherine Turner in Chemistry, Cytopathology's Lana Jajko, Administration's Linda Perry, Jennifer Slater and Brian Tapp from Inpatient Phlebotomy, Nancy Raynal from Hematology, and Rebecca Labowitch from Mott Phlebotomy. Laboratory staff interested in joining the Lab Ambassadors Program can contact Amy Drouillard and Linda Perry via a contact form submission.