The career you want
EORLA has 18 hospital-based licensed laboratories across Eastern Ontario, from Ottawa’s acute academic hospitals to community hospitals in urban and rural areas. Who else can give you so much choice?
“ I love the camaraderie I feel in a small hospital like ours, it’s like a family. We have to work together and learn to rely on each other more so than in a big team, I feel. ”
- Rhonda Bray, Medical Laboratory Technologist
Rhonda Bray has been an MLT (Medical Laboratory Technologist) at our Glengarry Memorial Hospital location since 1998, before EORLA’s inception.
“Before EORLA, we were all very separate – each lab operating as their own entity, relying only on themselves. EORLA’s creation has changed the game considerably, for the better, for instance, now we share knowledge between sites. In addition, I worked in private labs before EORLA, so I was never exposed to patient emergencies and that exposure has been insightful to my career and the big picture of what we do. More than processing routine bloodwork away in a private lab somewhere, the hospital environment we’re in really increases awareness of the patient care side of things – the beauty of it all coming together in one place for our patient.
I love the camaraderie I feel in a small hospital like ours, it’s like a family. We have to work together and learn to rely on each other more so than in a big team, I feel.”
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Thank you Rhonda!
"I have found that there's a sense of care and compassion at EORLA that sets us apart. Different cultures and religions are here and diversity is respected and celebrated."
- Saed Yusuf Ali, Medical Laboratory Technician
Saed Yusuf Ali is a Medical Laboratory Technician with our Virology team (COVID LAB) at CHEO. He joined #teamEORLA in November 2020 and plans to work on his MLT (Technologist) credentials in Canada as that is what he served as back home in Libya.
“It was a busy time when I started. Testing was ramping up and the lab was averaging 3000 Covid-19 tests a day. Samples would come in from hospitals, assessment centres and long-term care homes. I would help sort the samples, prioritize them based on criteria, enter them into our system, aliquot and place them in an incubator and hand over to the technologists for processing.
Since the beginning, I have found that there’s a sense of care and compassion at EORLA that sets us apart. Different religions and cultures are visible here and diversity is respected and celebrated. I really feel like I belong and I think anyone could.
I will always remember one particular shift. It was when we processed our record-breaking 5000 Covid-19 tests in one day. We couldn’t believe it, we had come so far in such a short time. I’m grateful to be a member of a team that works tirelessly 24/7 without whom this goal would not have been reached.
The people here make me want to stay with EORLA long term. The roles are challenging because we are working in the shadows and don’t get a lot of recognition in the big healthcare picture. However, it is so rewarding to work in a field that is extremely critical to patient care.”
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Thank you Saed!
“ I can’t believe how fast EORLA was able to grow from delivering hundreds of COVID tests each day in March 2020 to over 5000 by the Fall. ”
- Dr. Chris McCudden, Deputy Chief of Staff at EORLA.
Dr. Chris McCudden is our Deputy Chief of Staff at EORLA. He began with us in 2011 and serves as a Clinical Biochemist at The Ottawa Hospital and is also Lab Director at both Deep River District Hospital and Glengarry Memorial Hospital laboratories.
“EORLA’s structure is unique in that it provides ample opportunity for a dynamic work environment catered to your specific needs and goals. Whether it be rural/city, day/night, the type of discipline you desire, or mentor you’re seeking, there are so many options across EORLA and never a dull moment.
In Biochemistry, the team has the great responsibility of testing high volumes of samples and making sure each and every test is conducted accurately. We are constantly planning for the future to increasing test capacity, standardize testing across many sites, implementing new testing, and evaluating new equipment to improve our laboratories for years to come. With the pandemic, we’ve had to strategize how to continue delivering services for best patient outcomes in these challenging times.
I can’t believe how fast EORLA was able to grow from delivering hundreds of COVID tests each day in March 2020 to over 5000 by the Fall. The effort, coordination, and team work it took within our Microbiology and Virology labs to make that jump possible in such a short time is a remarkable achievement that everyone in Eastern Ontario benefits from.
Healthcare is challenging, no matter which capacity you work in however I can say without a doubt that this is an incredibly rewarding career choice with exceptional variety. There’s always something exciting happening to work towards bettering patient care.”
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“ What sets us apart is that we are a hospital-based laboratory and it’s important we work closely with each member hospitals. ”
- Manon Chennette, Regional Laboratory Operations Manager for #teamEORLA’s Zone West
Manon Chennette is our Regional Laboratory Operations Manager for #teamEORLA’s Zone West.
“I began at EORLA before it’s inception, as a Medical Lab Technician in 1991 at The Ottawa Hospital and after 19 years in hematology as an MLT, I took on my first leadership roles at the General Campus as a charge technologist. I then pursued a management role at the Cornwall site and then CHEO site. I always knew I wanted to pursue leadership and I found there were multiple ways to meet people, network and further advance my career. I joined committees and special projects, I helped other sites renew their accreditations, so I was in and out of different labs meeting people across the organization. I have loved the flexibility that EORLA offers to move between different sites, departments and disciplines.
What sets us apart is that we are a hospital-based laboratory and it’s important we work closely with each member hospitals. We can see the direct impact we have on patient lives as we work with Doctors, Nurses and other health care professionals who are continually diagnosing patients and ordering tests with our expertise.
I’m a mom and I raised my family working here. There were times where my kids needed me, and I always found it easy to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Swapping shifts and flexibility was and is available when I needed to prioritize my family.
Being a part of this team during the pandemic stands out as a career highlight for me. We often saw rapid changes in guidelines as things were evolving. The sheer scale with which so many different lab disciplines adapted to help ramp up testing or maintain regular laboratory operations to meet the demand was nothing short of amazing.”
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“ My career is only just beginning but so far I am amazed at how passionate everyone is about science and healthcare. ”
- Alexander Fernandes, MLT, Microbiology Lab
“I love that our lab is like a small community helping the greater one. At the beginning of the pandemic we were all stretched really thin; everyone pitched in working long hours and overtime. While it was a difficult time, how everyone stepped up for each other and the greater Ottawa region was something else. I’ve worked here about a year and I continue to see improvements in our lab practices as well as new technology to accommodate the increased demands by our community. I’ve been able to be part of a couple of projects that have really allowed me to grow as an MLT. And being part of EORLA you have the opportunity to work within 16 hospitals in the Champlain region spanning from Barry’s Bay down to Cornwall and up to Hawkesbury. My career is only just beginning but so far I am amazed at how passionate everyone is about science and healthcare. For me, the most important part of the lab environment is the eagerness of #teamEORLA to learn and share knowledge.”
Alexander Fernandes, MLT, Microbiology Lab, #teamEORLA since August 2019
Thank you Alexander!
“ I love that I have the freedom to pursue and specialize in various disciplines because EORLA is part of a network of different hospitals. ”
- Carolyn Green, Medical Laboratory Professional
Carolyn Green is a Medical Laboratory Professional for #teamEORLA and has been instrumental in our Hematology Department for the past 3 years.
“I love that I have the freedom to pursue and specialize in various disciplines because EORLA is part of a network of different hospitals. There’s never any lack of opportunity here. Early on in my time at EORLA, at a session with an experienced trainer, my trainer remarked while going through tests, that they were seeing something she had never seen before. She was so excited because we were the first to see what was wrong with this patient; it showed me that even after years on the job, we can see something new everyday.
Of course the pandemic has been unprecedented, but especially within the laboratory. At EORLA the situation was that absolutely every staff became indispensable, and everyone was pitching in and working hard. It was no longer about who had what job. Relationships between different lab sites were crucial back in spring 2020 that remain strong today.
Working at EORLA I’ve especially noticed that no matter my tenure, my viewpoint is considered here. When EORLA went live with new Analyzers – I was one of the key operators that made sure there was a smooth transition to new technology and no patient test was delayed or left behind.
I love that what I do impacts patient lives everyday.”
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Thank you Carolyn!
“ This new role changed the filter that I see my work life through. Everything is bright and exciting now. I feel valued and needed. ”
- Jennifer Smith, Medical Laboratory Technologist
Jennifer Smith has been a Medical Laboratory Technologist for #teamEORLA since it’s inception. She began in Virology but recently accepted a position in EORLA’s Point of Care Department at The Ottawa Hospital.
“This last year has given me a new sense of love for my chosen career. I was asked to be the Lead Medical Technologist for the implementation of Rapid Covid testing throughout the region. With this I have had the opportunity to work with amazing people within EORLA, Long term care homes and Assessment centers. All of these individuals were key to the building and implementation of the rapid testing program. My leadership (Biochemist and Manager) at EORLA have been my foundation throughout this project. They have both challenged me and supported me throughout the whole process.
This new role changed the filter that I see my work life through. Everything is bright and exciting now. I feel valued and needed. It has been a huge learning curve, but I must say that I thrive in the constantly changing and dynamic world of Point of care. I work with nurses daily to conduct training and ensure teams are proficient across the Rapid Testing project. It’s amazing to help my community and see this program progress.”
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Thank you Jennifer!
“ What sets EORLA apart for me is how we attract highly qualified Med-Sci staff that work closely with discipline leaders and subject matter experts. ”
- Edwin Nkengla, Senior Medical Laboratory Technologist
Edwin Nkengla is a Senior Medical Laboratory Technologist at #teamEORLA’s Histology Lab at The Ottawa Hospital.
“My beginning here was unique from my peers in that I was educated in the UK so my credentials had to be assessed by the College. I worked for 4 months at the Montfort Hospital before transitioning to the Ottawa Hospital General Campus as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. It made for a simple transition to work life in Canada.
What sets EORLA apart for me is how we attract highly qualified Med-Sci staff that work closely with discipline leaders and subject matter experts. This means that MLT’s like me have incredibly talented Doctors, Pathologists etc. as resources to lean on. I also must mention that there is no shortage of state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Whether it be the people here or the facilities, things are always improving to meet patient needs, and fast.
I have to be honest, at the beginning of the pandemic, the labs were definitely filled with fear. What turned that around was the support we received. There were frequent talks from both management and experts in the field, they came right into our labs to share best practices and support us. The resilience of the histology team stood out for me too, we adapted to so much change so quickly and all in the name of patient care. Like some departments, our workload dropped at times during the pandemic, but we offered ourselves to areas of the laboratory network that experienced the opposite, a surge. In addition, due to supply chain delays during the pandemic, some automated equipment supplies were delayed. This meant we had to complete some test requests manually which could take longer than normal. Our histology team came through with modified shift patterns to ensure there were little delays in patient care.
With all the demands, deadlines and risks that come with working in a lab, I feel it’s important we’re renumerated fairly. The compensation packages here are best in the region and the opportunities for professional growth and development are unparalleled.
Thanks to EORLA’s support and investment in my skills at large, I was able to become a competence assessor for The College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario (CMLTO). Contributing both within and outside EORLA towards the regulation of my field has been extremely rewarding.
In terms of more active Professional Development, EORLA offers courses from time to time as well as links to webinars through the National Society for Histotechnology, Symposiums and Conventions opportunities. I took advantage of a course offered at EORLA, ‘Effective Presentations Skills & Public Speaking Training’ to further my ability to share my knowledge with peers at the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (P.A.L.M) Grand Rounds. But my most recent accomplishment is LEAN training, which enables continuous improvement for efficient and effective service delivery to various stakeholders both in and outside the laboratory.
Through my work at EORLA, I feel like an important corner stone to medicine in our region. As important as the nurses and doctors who make decisions based on the test results I help provide. This is a role that demands a spirit of dedication to each patient and meticulous attention to detail.”
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Thank you Edwin!
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