HERMISTON, OR – Good Shepherd Health Care System (GSHCS) would like to recognize Good Shepherd Laboratory Department staff in honor of National Laboratory Professionals Week, April 18-24, 2021.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week originated in 1975 by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), a collaborative committee with representatives from 17 national clinical laboratory organizations.
“We are very proud of our ‘hidden heroes;’ our Laboratory Department professionals that have very much been on the frontlines of this pandemic,” stated Ronda Reisdorph, Good Shepherd’s Laboratory Department Manager.
Good Shepherd’s Laboratory Department is a team of 13 Laboratory Technologists, and 15 Laboratory Assistants that together, collect samples and test the samples to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. The department is accredited by the Oregon Health Authority and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) which is a nationwide laboratory accrediting body.
It is easy to recognize the positive impact Good Shepherd’s laboratory professionals have had on the surrounding communities because the work speaks for itself. “We completed 10,562 COVID-19 tests from March 2020 to March 2021. We ran a total of 1,276,916 laboratory tests and our laboratory technologists have conducted 6,945 microbiology cultures this past year. We performed 2,195 Type & Screen/Crossmatch tests which include ABO/RH blood types and compatibility with donor units or unexpected antibodies to donor units,” stated Reisdorph. “There’s no doubt we have provided great support to our patients and healthcare professionals.”
“One of the things that is unique to Good Shepherd’s Laboratory is that smaller laboratories in rural settings often do not have microbiology labs like we do. This allows our technologists to provide timely results without the need to send microbiology labs out to a reference laboratory which tends to delay results,” shared Reisdorph, “The benefit is that we can diagnose and treat our patients quicker since the results are in the doctor’s hands a lot sooner. It’s pretty special, really.”
Part of the success of Good Shepherd’s Laboratory Department is in the well-maintained and current technology the team uses. “Our leadership prioritizes patient safety and supports bringing on the most up-to-date equipment possible to our laboratory, ensuring accurate and timely diagnostics to help our patients have the best healthcare outcomes possible,” stated Reisdorph. “For instance, next month we go live with a PCR test for COVID-19 which has a rapid turnaround of only hours for results, versus 3-5 days. This test will be useful for international travel, since individuals are required to be COVID-19-negative using PCR to travel outside the country along with Pre-Op rapid testing.”
The team’s Medical Technologists that work behind the scenes are required to have a bachelor’s degree, plus an internship. “They really bridge the gap between the clinical part and the information technology piece of healthcare,” shared Reisdorph.
“Laboratory Assistants in the department work directly with our patients and are not required to have a degree by the Oregon Health Authority, but we highly encourage our assistants to earn their certifications,” she stated. “Our Medical Director is Pathologist Nerissa Ladd, MD, who is very involved in the daily testing and operations in our laboratory.”
“Our laboratory professionals are on the frontlines, too. We dress down in full-gear to get the needed samples for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. All of our healthcare workers pull together to help our patients each and every day, and we don’t want the limelight for it,” stated Reisdorph.
Good Shepherd invites the community to join in honoring laboratory professionals everywhere this week. To send a note of thanks or encouragement to Good Shepherd’s Laboratory Department, please visit https://www.gshealth.org/give-thanks.