A conversation with Julie Laramie
Medical laboratory professionals play a key role in every aspect of health care. Health care providers depend on lab professionals to provide crucial tests that help guide the right course of treatment for each patient’s unique needs. Through high-tech equipment and sophisticated analysis, lab professionals are able to provide rapid and reliable testing results that assist in the diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and prevention of disease.
During Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, we want to thank our 135 lab staff at Children’s Minnesota. We are so grateful for the work that they do to improve patient care.
To learn a little more about what it’s like to be a laboratory professional at Children’s Minnesota, we sat down with Julie Laramie, a technical specialist:
How would you describe your role at Children’s Minnesota?
I am a certified medical laboratory scientist with a specialist certification in microbiology. In the laboratory at Children’s Minnesota, I am the technical specialist of molecular diagnostics and microbiology. My primary focus is in molecular testing. Among a variety of responsibilities and tasks, I work with our wonderful laboratory team to bring up new testing in-house, ensure compliance with our accrediting agencies, and manage daily lab happenings. I also work hard to identify opportunities to improve work-flows while optimizing patient care.
How long have you worked at Children’s Minnesota?
Will be four years this August.
What inspired you to go into your field of work?
In school I loved math and studying all things science and health related. I knew I wanted to be in the medical field to care for people, but I also knew I didn’t want direct patient contact. The medical laboratory science field was a great fit for me! The challenges and opportunities I have been presented with have facilitated professional growth and knowledge acquisition beyond what I ever imagined.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My days are so variable. They consist of a wide range of tasks, some of which include working with our fantastic lab group on projects, testing patient samples, reviewing test results, working on test verifications, data analyzing, writing and reviewing procedures, checking for compliance, reviewing supply inventory and consulting with lab staff.
In addition, I frequently consult with numerous individuals and teams throughout the organization, external to the lab, to work as a collaborative, interdisciplinary team in an effort to provide the best care possible.
How has COVID-19 impacted the lab, as a whole, over the last year?
The onset of the pandemic brought on an unforeseeable abundance of challenges. We faced, and continue to deal with, massive consumable supply shortages. It has been very hard to get the supplies and reagents we need not only for COVID-19 testing, but almost all of the other testing we do as well. In several instances, we have had to find substitutes and/or creative, scientifically sound solutions.
Specifically, how has COVID-19 impacted your job over last year?
Specific to my role, all focus turned towards expanding our COVID-19 molecular testing capabilities in-house with what little supplies were available. As a team, we completed seven SARS-CoV-2 PCR test evaluations and implementations in a very short time period. One of which, included a laboratory developed test (LDT) with research use only (RUO) reagents. This meant we had to perform all studies a test manufacturer would need to do prior to submitting to the FDA and releasing a test to the market.
As the test has menu evolved, I have worked together with several wonderful groups of professionals throughout the organization in an effort to optimize our testing algorithms and work-flow.
What do you love most about your job?
I absolutely love that I am always expanding my knowledge base and continue to be challenged on a regular basis. Additionally, I am blessed to work with such a great laboratory team so I look forward to coming into work.
What would you like families and staff at Children’s Minnesota to know about lab professionals and the work your team does?
We are detectives that work behind the scenes as part of an all-inclusive healthcare team that perform complex testing to provide crucial results that directly impact diagnosing, treating, and disease monitoring or prevention in patients. The amazing team that I get to work with here at Children’s Minnesota is truly dedicated to providing accurate and timely results to the patients, families, and care providers we serve.
What do you think makes kids amazing?
Their resilience, sense of adventure, and ability to find happiness in ordinary daily life.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Find moments of joy throughout each day.