“What’s the biggest challenge working in a hospital lab?”

“I’ve done everything in our hospital lab!” Sally Harper, Medical Technician (MT) has worked at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital lab for 38 years, since 1980.

What’s the biggest challenge? “Making sure that we are 100% correct in everything we do! There’s lots of checks and balances in our work: in the lab itself, reporting to the State Department of Health and the federal government. The Washington DOH’s Lab Quality Assurance Division visits our lab once a year and inspects everything: our work, records, logs, and tests. We subscribe to College of American Pathologist proficiency surveys and analyze up to 5 samples 3 times a year for every test we do.

The LCCH Lab Department occupies a very small and compact space, so Sally and her team are really looking forward to the new hospital with larger lab space! But Sally connects not only daily with her team, but also with 17 regional lab managers in the region. “We email each other almost every day with questions, tips, great ideas, and problem-solving; we also meet twice a year.” She also spends time with vendors who come to the lab, listening and learning about their new products, and possibly thinking about how they may be valuable in the new hospital lab.

Sally grew up on a farm and was interested in veterinary work, plus she enjoyed chemistry and biology studies in school. After graduation, she initially worked some other jobs, but one day she went to Wenatchee Valley College and talked with a counselor who suggested lab work as a career. Working in a lab suits her talents as she likes working with mechanical instruments to problem solve and produce quality testing results.

Career advice? “If you like to take care of people and you like sciences, look at becoming a Medical Lab Technician (MLT). From being a high school graduate, you can then go to WVC for a two-year program and become a MLT, earning a family wage job,” she says. Sally herself got her MLT at Wenatchee Valley College. Since then, she’s furthered her education to become a Medical Technician (MT).

Need college funding; want a scholarship? If you are a Chelan Valley high school graduate, and intend to pursue any healthcare-related field, you are eligible to apply for a Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation Scholarship! For more information, click here.

About the Foundation:

For more than 35 years, the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation (formerly the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Foundation) has been committed to helping make the Lake Chelan Valley area a healthier place to be for everyone by encouraging and managing financial gifts, promoting healthcare services for our hospital, and wellness initiatives for the Valley.

Our Mission is to promote healthcare services and wellness initiatives for the Lake Chelan Valley.