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    Medical Lab Professionals Week a Testament to the Testers at NMRTC Bremerton

    Medical Lab Professionals Week a Testament to the Testers at NMRTC Bremerton

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Behind the scenes but not the times… Screening, testing, and processing orders for...... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    When an entire auditorium of laboratory staff members were asked who participated in recent weekend support to stop the spread of COVID-19 related to operational fleet readiness, every one present raised a hand.

    Such is the daily new norm encapsulated during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. The theme ‘laboratory professionals get results’ has been apt for Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB)/Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Laboratory Department during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    Screening, testing, and processing orders for COVID -19 are a major emphasis for the Department of Defense, and NHB/NMRTC Bremerton’s Laboratory Department are providing crucial results and have a central role in ensuring service members remain healthy and ready.

    “Our Laboratory team is the best in Navy Medicine. They have been out front on the COVID 19 response, and they have repeatedly surged to meet the expanding mission requirements, while maintaining positive attitudes. Without question, the exceptional efforts and behind-the-scenes work of our team in the laboratory is essential to the safe, high quality care we strive to deliver,” said Capt. Shannon J. Johnson, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer.

    “They are a cohesive team of unsung heroes in the battle against COVID-19. They have been front and center in our overall effort, becoming experts in all aspects of COVID -19 screening and testing. We are grateful for their commitment to staying current with the research, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” added Johnson.

    Johnson acknowledged that Cmdr. Todd Tetreault, Laboratory Department head, has provided an invaluable role by reaching out and developing strong, collaborative partnerships with other hospital laboratory officers and keeping Navy Medicine and command leadership apprised of the most up to date, state of the art practices.

    “Cmdr. Tetreault leads an incredibly strong team, and his Laboratory staff members have been instrumental in our critical mission to support our deploying forces. I thank each for their commitment, competence and long hours worked without complaint,” Johnson said.

    Tetreault clarified that his role leading the command’s lab has been ‘just administrative in nature.’

    “It’s really our lab technicians – our enlisted Sailors – who are the reason why we are able to do what we do to support the fleet’s surface, subsurface and shore components. Our hospital corpsmen have taken the lead, handled the responsibility, worked long hours and provided expertise all along the way,” commented Tetreault.

    One such example had the NHB/NMRTC Bremerton Laboratory team, in collaboration with other staff members, come together as a group and process over 3,000 COVID-19 orders in support of a national security mission.

    “All our lab staff have been essential and flexible. They demonstrated tremendous agility, a strong sense of mission conviction, and a ‘failure is not an option’ mindset. Everyone has been competent and ready to serve, with a great attitude,” said Johnson.

    The Laboratory team for years has been regarded as behind the scenes professionals essential and central to the military health system supporting almost every aspect in healthcare delivery. The Lab collects, processes, and/or ships approximately 750,000 tests each year in support of operational readiness ensuring a ready medical force and a medically ready Fleet and Marine force. The Lab also supports beneficiary healthcare, including seasonal influenza vaccination needs, the Armed Service Blood Program donor operations, and Military Health System referrals.

    The NHB/NMRTC Bremerton staff are multi-disciplined and includes such specialties as administration support, phlebotomists, medical technicians, medical technologists, cytotechnologists, histology technicians, and pathologists

    “NHB’s Lab is the hub for all naval laboratory work in the Pacific Northwest! The clinical portion of the lab conducts anatomic and clinical pathology work from our operating rooms, Labor and Delivery Center, Multi-Service Ward, Outpatient Clinics, Urgent Care Clinic, and Dental,” explained Tetreault. “NHB’s Lab also receives work from Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Occupational Health Clinic, the Naval Shipyard Everett Clinic, and the Naval Health Clinic in Oak Harbor. We also work closely with our partners at Madigan Army Medical Center.”

    With April 19-25, 2020 designated as Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, the lab staff were able to vote amongst themselves and recognize their peers on outstanding services they provide.

    Mr. Tomio Oda was selected as ‘Technician of the Year;’ Hospitalman Connor Homrighause was honored as ‘Best of Troubleshooting;’ Hospitalman Oswaldo Encarnacionvilla was chosen as ‘Team Player of the Year;’ Hospitalman Stephanie Fernandez was picked for ‘Outstanding Customer Service;” and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alexis Delapaz was tabbed as ‘Mentor of the Year.’

    “This last award was presented for dedication to the Navy's Mission, their out of the box thinking, and flexibility, and was presented by all (lab) officers to Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sara Rockhold for ‘COVID-19 Swab Exercise Organizer,’” noted Tetreault.

    Rockhold was instrumental in coordinating manpower, logistics, collecting and shipping details for the lab’s fleet support.

    The Lab is also part of the Armed Services Blood Bank Center - Pacific Northwest. Last year, six blood drives were conducted with 191 units collected.

    “We actively supports regional donation of blood products, prepare and ensure the compatibility of blood products - Red Blood Cells, Cryoprecipitate, Fresh Frozen Plasma, and platelets - used in our operating rooms and labor and delivery,” said Tetreault.

    Those willing to donate can make an appointment at; or calling 253-968-1850. The Blood Bank is currently operating with social distancing guidelines at Madigan Army Medical Center, with extended hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Currently due to the ongoing public health challenges posed by COVID-19, Lab hours have been modified for beneficiaries, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    “In recognition of the 45th Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, I would like to express my gratitude for the collective character, competence and compassion of our Laboratory team. They are tested and proven, and will no doubt continue to adapt and overcome in these challenging times,” Johnson shared.

    NHB/NMRTC Bremerton Laboratory has also been fully accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). It is also licensed and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).



    Date Taken: 04.25.2020
    Date Posted: 04.26.2020 16:07
    Story ID: 368500
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

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