Traveler of the Month: Medical Lab Tech Makes Life-Saving Discovery
By Joseph Duffy, contributor
Medical laboratory technician Pandora Brown was recently on assignment at a trauma hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She knew the hospital well, as it was the site of her first allied travel assignment in 2019. This time around, she was working at the microbiology bench, a position in which she had limited experience.
But that didn't stop her from catching bacteria in a baby's spinal tap specimen. Pandora made the discovery while working solo for only the fourth time on the micro bench.
"I usually work the core lab in hematology or chemistry, but for this particular assignment, I was required to do microbiology, where I was primarily doing COVID swabs," Pandora said.
After Pandora found the bacteria, the baby was transferred to a children's hospital for treatment. The last she heard, the baby was doing well.
"It really hit home for Pandora because she just became a first-time grandmother the week before," said Pandora's Club Staffing recruiter, Elena Trowell. "The manager, Pandora, and I are very proud that she went with her gut and raised a flag to get this little one properly diagnosed."
For her life-saving actions and her service as an outstanding allied healthcare traveler, Pandora recently received Club Staffing’s Traveler of the Month award.
"I feel so honored right now because I was not looking for anything from this," Pandora said. "I was just doing my job."
Before traveling for Club Staffing
Before becoming a medical lab tech, Pandora worked as a phlebotomist in a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic. A care coordinator she worked with saw Pandora's potential and suggested that she take the next step in her allied healthcare career.
Pandora had always wanted to be a registered nurse, but her colleague got her thinking. What happens after I draw blood? What happens to these samples back at the lab? The care coordinator gave Pandora literature on becoming a medical laboratory technician (MLT).
She looked into the field and took it from there. In 2013, Pandora graduated from an MLT program.
Her first full-time job after school was with the National Health Interview Survey. Pandora would travel to different towns throughout the United States to collect health status data and utilization measures.
Pandora enjoyed the travel, but in 2019 she decided to find a way to keep traveling for work but pick her own destinations. After some online research, she found Club Staffing and recruiter Elena Trowell.
"I ended up picking an assignment close to home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, as a trial run," Pandora said. "It was a wonderful experience. Since then, I've been picking and choosing where I want to go. The more I work, the more I love it. I just love what I do."
To be near family during the COVID pandemic, Pandora has been choosing assignments closer to home. But as soon as restrictions lift, she wants to take an assignment in either Hawaii or Alaska. She knows that these vacation hotspots are expensive to explore independently, so she is looking forward to getting paid to live and work in her dream destinations.
Advice for med lab techs just starting out
For medical lab technicians who are just starting out and wanting to travel, Pandora suggested hanging in there and staying adamant about your goals. It may take time to get the experience you need, but you'll eventually get what you want with persistence and a good recruiter.
Pandora credits Elena for helping her map out her career and keeping her on a productive path.
"Don't be afraid to take that assignment you might not want," said Pandora. "It's critical to get your foot in the door."
Pandora said she expects to keep traveling for at least the next five years. The pay for traveling medical lab technicians is excellent, she reports, and she still learns something new at every assignment.
"Traveling makes you more marketable because you learn about new analyzers and techniques at every assignment," she said. "And you learn more about people as well. You have different personalities in different places and learning to cope with various personalities when you travel is essential."
READY to start making lifelong memories as Pandora has? Just apply with Club Staffing, and our recruitment team will help you begin your allied travel adventure!