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A day in the shoes of Liam, Laboratory Technician and Pharmacy Assistant

In the first instalment of our ‘A day in the shoes of…’ series we hear from Liam. Liam is our Laboratory Technician and Pharmacy Assistant. Inspired by his love for helping animals Liam will always go the extra mile, from freeing wasps in beer glasses to saving Mayflies in the Thames. At The Ralph Liam plays a crucial role in gathering information to support the treatment decisions for our patients. What does this mean I hear you say, well let’s meet Liam and find out more…     

“I start my mornings at The Ralph with a routine. I enjoy the organisational side to my role, as it enables me to have a really busy day, accomplishing a number of things with little room for errors. Firstly I wake up the machines in the laboratory, and get them ready for the day. I then check the diary to see what appointments are scheduled with our Internal Medicine Service; as these patients tend to require blood testing it allows me to better prepare for the day ahead. Afterwards, I agitate the pet donor blood so it is ready for transfusion for any of our patients who require it during or after surgery. It is then time to check the inbox and look through any test results which have been sent back by external pathology laboratories. This usually goes hand in hand with phone calls to the laboratories to request additional testing, or further analyses of the samples. By late-morning it is time to collect and unpack the orders which are distributed to the relevant areas of the hospital. Once I have finished this, there are usually samples ready from the morning’s appointments to run in-house or to package and send to an external laboratory for analysis.

Liam reading some blood-gas results in the laboratory


Depending on how many samples need preparing or running through the machines, I try to head back to the pharmacy to assist Sam (our Pharmacy Manager) with stock checking our medicines. I really enjoy working with Sam, and my other team members. Being part of a team who try so hard to provide the best possible care to each individual patient is amazing. To share this common goal, and to see it so clearly amongst everything we do makes coming to work very enjoyable.

After lunch there is normally a sample or two from patients who have been in theatre, which need packaging and sending to an external laboratory. These samples can vary from septic orthopaedic screws or plates, right through to suspicious masses and whole body parts. Once these samples have been packaged, and any blood samples have been run through the machines I assist Sam with ordering stock for the hospital. That is, unless the machines in the laboratory don’t require any maintenance, which can take some time and include several phone calls to the manufacturer! I’ll often be in the laboratory for the remainder of the day, as blood samples come in and require testing, along with external laboratory reports which need inputting on to the patient’s file (via our paperless system). Since working with animals, I have always been interested in laboratory work and particularly blood testing. So being able to work in a hospital where this is a major part of my role is more than ideal.

Liam completing maintenance to one of the laboratory machines


If I am lucky enough to complete all of the laboratory work early, along with the stock checking I see if any of the nurses or patient care assistants need a hand looking after the patients. In my previous role, I spent a lot of time with patients and I do miss this. Therefore, any opportunity to help with holding patients during procedures, or taking samples I am there.

Once I have finished with the day’s samples I have a chat with the Patient Care Assistant who is working in the evenings to hand over any information regarding samples as they take over responsibility to look after samples when I leave for the day.

For anyone looking to pursue a career in the laboratory, I would thoroughly encourage you to do so, knowing that you are contributing to help the patients is very rewarding.”

Thank you for reading the first in our series of ‘A day in the shoes of…’ If you would like any further information about our Laboratory or Pharmacy, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Take care,

Team Ralph


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