Lab needs more staff

  • Apr. 23, 2008 4:00 p.m.

The Queen Charlotte lab will be closed to outpatients every Wednesday until it can hire more staff, says hospital site manager Kerry Laidlaw. Mr. Laidlaw said the lab has one full-time lab technologist working now, and has been filling in the staffing gap since last summer with temporary workers, or locums. To run smoothly, the lab should have two and a half to three technologists, he said. The staff shortage has made it difficult to find enough time to keep the equipment calibrated and in good order, Mr. Laidlaw explained. The regional supervisor who oversees the lab suggested that a one-day per week closure would give the technologist time for these essential tasks. “We need a day to do the quality assurance,” he said. Without it, “it’s like trying to change the tires on a car that’s rolling.” The closure does not affect patients in the hospital or emergency patients, who will continue to get lab work done whenever needed, he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Laidlaw said he recommends that high school students who want to return to the islands after post-secondary consider a career in lab technology. Technologists are in demand all over, the starting hourly wage is around $27, and busy technologists can make up to $95,000 a year. And a student can receive the required diploma in just two years. “Most kids don’t realize what the wages are,” he said, adding that nursing is also a great choice for students who want to continue living here after college or university. Mr. Laidlaw urged anyone who knows a lab technologist who might be interested in moving to the islands to get in touch with him at the Queen Charlotte hospital.