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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Technician: Paulette Ivey

Citizens Memorial Hospital

Posted online

The sight of a needle makes most people shiver in fear. Paulette Ivey knows this well as a phlebotomist, but she also knows the critical nature of blood work in people’s health care journeys.

To make the dreaded, yet necessary, process of a phlebotomy procedure easier, Ivey says she approaches patients with compassion, kindness, gentleness and a friendly smile.

In her role as lab assistant coordinator at Citizens Memorial Hospital, she is responsible for the technical tasks of performing phlebotomy procedures on patients across the lifespan, stocking all needed supplies and organizing staff shifts. However, she also takes ownership for creating a consistently compassionate culture with her staff, asserting quality care and patient satisfaction as the top priority.

“I have invested a lifetime in the lab field,” Ivey says. “It has been my goal to interact with patients during phlebotomy in a way that they can tell that I care. I have been blessed to work with a variety of people that I have learned from and do my best to pass this on to others. I try to remember that I am the face of the lab, and I want it to look good.”

Ivey sees her job as being a bridge between the patients and the lab staff, tasked with obtaining the highest-quality sample possible to aid in the diagnosis of the health concern facing the patient.

“I collect the best sample that I can so that they give the most accurate results to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient,” she says.

“I use my knowledge to explain to patients what they can expect in certain situations,” she says. “As an example, if a patient in the emergency room has serial testing ordered, I would let them know to expect us to return for more samples,” she says.

Information helps to empower patients, Ivey says.

“Patients get frustrated by return blood draws. After this explanation, they expect our return. This lessens the frustration.”

A satisfied patient is Ivey’s goal, she says.

“I want them to know I care about them,” she says. “They are not a number. I want to give a patient a quality phlebotomy experience [and] accurate results in a time that exceeds their expectations.”

As an added benefit for patients, Ivey helps individuals with veins that pose difficulties in drawing blood. She performs the draw in the dialysis center so that the patient can bring the sample for testing.

Dr. Christina Otterness, a pathologist with CMH, says Ivey’s technical skills are unmatched.

“When no one else can, call Paulette,” she says. “She is our laboratory glue; she knows everything and is willing to do anything.”

For a phlebotomist, quality in both technical skill and bedside manner is key. Ivey passes on her knowledge and competencies to new staff to help them also become expert and thorough phlebotomists. She also previously worked as a phlebotomy instructor at Bolivar Technical College’s medical assistant program.

Ivey is a volunteer at Brighton Assembly of God, where she and her husband are involved with the day care program and other community outreach events. She is the recipient of the 2022 TULIP award, which stands for Thoughtful, Unforgettable, Lasting Impact on Patient Care and honors nursing support staff.

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