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Meet our lab professionals

May 14, 2021

Many NCH team members vital to our patients work largely behind the scenes. Laboratory employees perform critical tasks that make a difference in the diagnosis and treatment of our patients. Whether they collect and test specimens or ensure they are safely sent to specialty labs, these clinicians are providing critical behind-the-scenes services to our patients and our physicians.

In April, this team celebrated Laboratory Professionals Week. Now, we’d like to introduce you to a handful of them.

Tanya I. Ayala, NHA Certified, Phlebotomy Tech III
Hospital Inpatient Phlebotomy
Length of time at NCH: Five months

What do you do? I draw blood for patients in the hospital and those who come to the outpatient locations. I also prepare the blood and urine samples for testing. Sometimes I do point-of-care testing and process other specimens that doctors may have collected. Drawing blood is a major part of my job but I also collect specimens for other tests like COVID-19, glucose and other nasal swabs. I also educate patients on collecting samples.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career? It’s never boring, there is always a lot to do and there are many opportunities in the lab. It can be a stepping stone for other roles. You can work at a hospital, at a private doctor’s office, with a blood bank, on outpatient services etc. I am amazed at all of the behind-the-scenes action at the lab. You get close to your patients and care enough to make yourself get up at 3 a.m. for morning rounds because you realize how important your job is not only to you but to the patient’s care.

Andrea Cashman, PBT (ASCP), Phlebotomist III
Length of time at NCH: Five years

What do you do?  The role of phlebotomist is a great place to start a career in the lab. There is plenty of room for professional growth within different departments in the lab. I get to meet people from all walks of life performing a vital service in their health care. No day is ever the same and that is what I love about it.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I was always fascinated with phlebotomy and after a career in sales, I decided to do something that I would love. That is why I chose to become a phlebotomist and work for the best hospital.

Rocco DiCintio, Specimen Processor
Microbiology Laboratory
Length of time at NCH: One year

What do you do?  I work alongside the rest of the molecular and microbiology staff to help detect, prevent and treat a wide array of infectious diseases. As the specimen processor, I make sure that the specimens we receive are set up using the proper materials and techniques so that they can be incubated and allow any present bacteria to grow. If bacteria does grow, it is then identified by another laboratory employee at one of the specific work stations in the lab. Susceptibility testing is then performed on the identified organisms to provide the patients’ caregivers with a list of possible medications that the bacteria is either susceptible or resistant to. I also run a wide array of rapid testing that allow the caregivers to begin diagnosing the patients as well as formulating a treatment plan for them.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career? Laboratory services has allowed me to make a positive impact on patient care every day. By ensuring accurate and timely lab results, I can allow for better patient care. This ability to positively impact a patient’s healthcare experience at NCH is what motivates me each day.

Ashley Jones, Specimen Processor
Length of time at NCH: Four years

What do you do?  As a specimen processor in the Cytology department I access and process patient fluids and make slides for the cytotechs and pathologists to read and diagnose.
Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I love science and it’s interesting to see and work with different specimens and how they look on a molecular level. I also enjoying being in the background of patient care.

Sonal Modi, Lab Medical Secretary
Length of time at NCH: 28 years

What do you do?  There are many aspects to my job: I interact with pathologists as well as providers at NCH to get questions answered and resolve issues. I work with client billing and send out monthly statements. I love the daily encounters with all the people I come across and the feeling that I can help. I love my amazing coworkers.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I started as a phlebotomist and saw how much NCH cares about the community and the people we serve. I am proud to be a part of the NCH family and I love working here.

Tomi Schatz, CPT, Phlebotomist II
1051 Outpatient Lab
Length of time at NCH: Seven months

What do you do? My department is an outpatient lab which means that patients come to us to have their blood drawn. I greet my patients, escort them to the draw chair and always introduce myself. I explain the labs I will be drawing and ask if they have any questions before I begin to draw the blood. The phlebotomist does not stop at just drawing blood. We have to process the samples and make sure they are sent out to the processing lab on time. We have big responsibilities and have to be very organized and efficient.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I enjoy working one on one with my patients. I have been told by many that I have a bubbly personality and calm demeanor to help keep patients comfortable and distracted during their blood work done especially the patients that are not fond of needles or the sight of blood.

Holly Sotor, MT (ASCP) Lab Supervisor
Length of time at NCH: Seven years

What do you do? In Microbiology, we prepare specimens and identify the bacteria or fungus growing. We report this in patient records, usually along with an antibiotic panel that the physician uses to treat a patient. In addition, technologists run a lot of rapid tests that help indicate if there is a disease process going on in a patient’s body.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I went in the military to fund my education and was assigned to the laboratory. I liked it so much I pursued that in college.

Renee Tatro, EMT-B, Lead Phlebotomist III
Inpatient lab/Phlebotomy
Length of time at NCH: Four years

What do you do? As Lead Phlebotomist, I am crossed-trained so I can work inpatient or outpatient lab, at draw sites and in nursing homes. I mainly work the inpatient lab, which means I go to all the different units in the hospital to draw blood, from newborn babies to senior citizens. I also train new employees and make our daily assignment sheets when needed.

Why did you choose laboratory services work as a career?
I chose laboratory services as a career because I love drawing blood and I am great at locating veins. I am a very caring and compassionate person with a lot of patience – it’s a perfect fit.