New Interior Health hiring requirements spark uproar amongst lab staff – Okanagan & More News


A brand new initiative to hopefully deal with what’s being known as an pressing want for lab staff within the Interior Health area is sparking uproar from educated lab assistants.

New job postings for a lab phlebotomist, whose major function is to attract blood, solely require a Grade 10 training and a yr of related expertise.

The job description, nevertheless, is much like a lab assistant function, which requires as much as a yr of put up-secondary training.

In an e-mail to Global News, an Interior Health lab assistant mentioned the brand new postings make their training really feel out of date.

“This is a major public safety concern and a kick in the teeth to the front line lab assistants who have been working so hard to now just be undermined by Interior Health,” wrote an Interior Health lab assistant, who Global News has offered anonymity to guard their employment.

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According to Interior Health, the lab phlebotomist function is new and requires on-the-job coaching.

“The phlebotomist role is strictly focused on blood collection or being a puncture. So, it’s splicing that task that is part a medical laboratory assistant scope of practice and it’s focusing only on the blood collection piece,” mentioned Interior Health’s Pathology and Laboratory Services company program director Joanne Isber.

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“There’s a 12-week program that involves theory and eight weeks of hands-on practicum in the hospitals to support their training. And to make sure that they’re competent in what we need them to do.”

Isber went on to say that almost all of medical lab assistants (MLA) who undergo the Thompson Rivers University program obtain an eight-week practicum.

“We’re also giving an eight-week practicum with the phlebotomist with a focus of only venipuncture collection (drawing blood) and the process around that,” mentioned Isber.

“MLAs coming in from other programs, their scope of practice is bigger. They learn more about the other disciplines of laboratory medicine, understanding microbiology and pathology and transfusion. And we’ve got lab assistants working in all of those disciplines.”

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Wages between the 2 positions can be related. A lab phlebotomist lists a beginning wage of $24.04 in comparison with a $25.31 beginning wage for lab assistants.

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“Job description was developed in accordance with collective agreement in terms of process and classification benchmarks. The organization does not assign the compensation piece, that’s done through collective bargaining,” mentioned Isber.

Interior Health has employed 5 phlebotomists already and is hoping to rent one other 11 to 12. This is on prime of 60 vacancies all through the area for medical lab assistants.

“MLAs are vital to the lab program and to our health care system so there’s no intent to eliminate the collection from them. That phlebotomist role is really to complement the MLA, to reduce some of the workload with the high vacancies that we’re seeing,” mentioned Isber.

“This is an opportunity for us to be innovative and ensure really, that we can keep collection services available to our patients both in the community and in acute care.”

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© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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