Name: Peggy Hanson, BA, MT (ASCP)
Title: Laboratory Manager
Employer: Methodist McKinney Hospital, McKinney, TX
My career has spanned 37 years in many different types of facilities, from the smallest lab to a large, 400-bed hospital. Currently, I’m the laboratory manager in Methodist McKinney Hospital, a 19-bed facility which opened five years ago to provide inpatient, outpatient and emergency care to McKinney, Texas and surrounding communities. I LOVE WHAT I DO! And I so appreciate my bench techs, as I know that everything they do affects the patient, the doctors, the nurses’ care, and the overall outcome of the patient’s care.
I got into the management side of the bench in 1996, when my supervisor left suddenly, and the clinic administrator called me to ask if I wanted the position. I said yes, and it was the very best decision I could have ever made. We had an inspection coming up in just a few short weeks, so it was now up to me to be ready for this very important time. I learned so much from that job, and I have been grateful ever since for that opportunity to become more than “just a bench tech.”
One experience as a laboratory professional that I remember so vividly happened during my first job at a small hospital in South Dakota. I always had a passion for blood banking, and in those days, we drew our own blood bank supplies. It was a very snowy Thanksgiving, and I was called into the lab because an obstetrics patient was hemorrhaging and was in critical need of blood. We didn’t have enough of the right type on hand and the supplier we used couldn’t get to us because the local roads were closed. I started making calls and somehow managed to get six people to the hospital to see if any were suitable donors. I finally found someone with the right type and we were able to get the supplies we needed. As a result, the doctor was able to save both the mother and her baby.
I still get goosebumps thinking about how important the lab was to that woman and her child. If we hadn’t been able to do what we did, two precious lives would have been lost that day.
I am coming upon retirement soon and, in a way, I’ll be sad to leave such a grand profession. But then I think about all those techs coming out of school, many of them hoping that they will eventually be able to obtain the leadership roles such as those I’ve been blessed with over the years.
I encourage anyone interested in the healthcare profession to look at a career in the laboratory profession. Whether you stay with it or transition to another area of healthcare, it gives you such a solid foundation. You have to be able to adapt to constant change and manage multiple tasks simultaneously, but the rewards of the profession – particularly the difference you can make in people’s lives — make it all worthwhile.