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New Interior Health hiring requirements spark uproar among lab staff – OkanaganSEDI News

A new initiative to address what ASHA calls an urgent need for lab staff in the internal health field is creating an uproar from trained lab assistants.

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A new job posting for Lab Phlebotomist, whose primary role is to draw blood, requires only 10th standard education and one year of relevant experience.

The job description, however, is similar to a lab assistant role, requiring up to one year of post-secondary education.

In an email to Global News, an Interior Health lab assistant said the new postings make his education seem obsolete.

“This is a major public safety concern and a kick in the teeth for front-line lab assistants who are now working so hard to only be undermined by internal health,” wrote one internal health lab assistant, who was named by Global News. did not Protect their employment.

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

“The role of a phlebotomist is strictly focused on blood collection or having a puncture. So, it’s splitting the work that’s part of the medical laboratory support scope of practice and focusing only on the blood collection part,” said Joanne Isber, corporate program director of pathology and laboratory services at Interior Health.

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“There is a 12-week program that includes theory and eight weeks of hands-on practicum in hospitals to support their training. And to make sure that they are able to do what they are required to do.”

Isber added that most medical lab assistants (MLAs) who go through the Thompson Rivers University program receive eight weeks of practicum.

“We also offer an eight-week practicum with a phlebotomist that focuses solely on venipuncture collection (drawing blood) and the process surrounding it,” Isbar said.

“As MLAs come from other programs, their scope of practice is larger. They learn more about other branches of laboratory medicine, understanding microbiology and pathology and transfusions. And we have lab assistants working in all those disciplines.


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Salary is also similar between the two positions. Lab phlebotomists command a starting salary of $24.04 compared to a starting salary of $25.31 for lab assistants.

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“The job description was developed in accordance with the collective agreement in terms of process and classification benchmarks. The organization does not assign part of the compensation, which is done through collective bargaining,” Isbar said.

Interior Health has already hired five phlebotomists and hopes to hire another 11 to 12. These are among the top 60 vacancies across the region for Medical Lab Assistants.

“Legislators are vital to the lab program and our health care system so there is no purpose in taking collection away 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,” Isber said.

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


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