I am the I in IWK – Donna Kline

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Medical Technologist in Pathology and Lab Medicine

Donna Kline knew she wanted to be a lab tech from the time she was in grade 10. “I got into the tech course right out of high school and started working at the IWK in October after I graduated,” says Kline. It’s been 30 years of work in the industry since then, and a collective 25 at the IWK.

Kline counts herself as one of the lucky ones who found her ideal career on the first try, and even luckier again to have spent that time here. “I always tell my kids that I’m going to work to do arts and crafts for most of the day. I have fun doing what I do.”

Pathology is the study of tissue. When a tissue sample is removed from a patient in the operating room it comes to the pathology technologists to be sliced into pieces that are small enough to look at under a microscope.

“My role is to embed the sample into a cassette and then section it on a microtone. This allows us to put these little tiny pieces, which are thinner than a piece of hair, on a slide. They’re then dried and stained, we do our quality checks, and then we send it to the pathologist.”

Kline started here in the core lab working night shifts for four years before landing a position in the pathology department, but at a different organization. “I worked there for six months before coming back here. It’s just a completely different feeling in this building than anywhere else. Here, you never lose sight of who is at the end of all the tests that you do.”

“It’s very much the feeling of family. It’s that sense of ‘hello, come in, our doors are always open and whatever we can do to help you we will do’. You see it even when staff are just helping patients find their way around.”

Kline says that the team in the pathology department has established that sense of family amongst themselves as well, banning together when anyone needs help. “Working in health care can be challenging, and life gets busy. It’s nice to know that there’s people here who I can call on for help and we’re all so willing to help others.”

Kline is only a few years away from retirement and although she is no doubt looking forward to it, she says she’ll miss the work that she does. “I love what I do, I really, really do.”