Every Step Is a Journey for Club Staffing Winner
Clinical laboratory scientist wins Club Staffing contest and a lifetime of allied travel memories
By Joan Fox Rose, MA, RN, contributor
Travel to unfamiliar places is exciting, new and memorable, according to Amanda Churchill, a clinical laboratory scientist who travels with Club Staffing. “Travel gets you out of your comfort zone; it’s brain fuel nourished by the places you’re assigned to, the people you meet and the clinical opportunities you have to advance your knowledge and expertise. Travel provides much more than a staff position and has reaped many more possibilities than I could ever dream of,” said the recent contest winner.
Churchill’s tale of her allied travel life was chosen as the winning entry in the My Club Staffing Story contest, which ran from February through August 2016. As the grand prize winner, she will collect a $5,000 travel voucher, which will help her keep following her passion.
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Laboratory scientists are unseen professions responsible for 70 percent of what’s in patient charts, Churchill pointed out. “As laboratory scientists, we’re proficient in studies that involve hematology, microbiology, chemistry, serology and immunohematology. We analyze blood and body fluids and can tell if you have leukemia or sickle cell anemia and we let your doctor know if you have a bacterial or viral infection. Our culture studies expertise is a vital part of the cure when we inform your doctor about which antibiotic works best.”
In addition to testing for HIV, flu, strep and more, laboratory scientists perform blood draws and provide analyzer maintenance to ensure values are correct for each test they perform. “We also report critical results to nurses and doctors,” she added.
Currently assigned to the 160-bed St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center located in Meridian, Idaho, Churchill has competed 19 assignments during her almost eight-year employment with Club Staffing. She has worked in the laboratories of hospitals ranging from 10 beds to 1,000 beds in size.
“Working in a variety of laboratories has given me multiple opportunities to maintain and improve my skills,” she explained.
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Among her most memorable travel assignments were two jobs on opposite sides of the country: one in Kotzebue, Alaska, and the other at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center in Reading, Penn.
The Maniilaq Association in Kotzebue, Alaska, is situated 33 miles above the Arctic Circle and was the site of Churchill’s first assignment. It was also “the last place I thought I’d ever be,” she said.
“I learned a great deal about myself and the Eskimo community, an indigenous people strong in their heritage.” To complete her numerous and varied responsibilities, Churchill traveled to 18 point-of-care (POC) sites, seven within the village of Kotzebue and 11 in remote villages in the northwest part of the state. “These villages had no running water, sewers or phones, and being there was like living 100 years behind the times,” she commented. “While in Kotzebue, I learned not to be wasteful and the importance of using everything I had to make life work.”
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While assigned at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Churchill worked in the blood bank department for an extended period where she made lifelong friends. “While working in the blood bank, I gained information and techniques that you don’t normally see in smaller labs,” she said. “This type of experience is important for travelers and has provided me with more opportunities to strengthen my skills and become a better blood-banker.”
Churchill enjoys outdoor excursions where she can appreciate the beauty and tranquility of her surroundings. Among her favorite memories: learning about Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in North America, exploring Arches National Park in Utah and visiting Florida’s natural springs.
“Alaska has a natural beauty that is amazing and is more laid back than the hustle and bustle of the ‘Lower 48,’” she said. “The Arches National Park has the largest sandstone structures in the world, known for their unusual colors and light, and central Florida’s natural springs are a delight to visit, popular for their cool, clear waters.”
“My travel life supports my need to keep changing things and prevents me from feeling robot-like as I did when I had a four-year permanent job,” Churchill said. “Meeting new people, listening to their stories and learning why their towns are special to them has been a refreshing experience for me.”
“Travel gives me the freedom to do more with my time. I can take a week or a month off, even the whole summer if I want to; travel reduces stress because you’re able to be free and mobile, and every step is a journey, whether it’s an assignment in a small town or a big city.”
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