This month marks five years since Strong West officially opened in Brockport, and the clinical lab is an important part of the small but mighty healthcare team serving patients on the west side.
Sue Baker is supervisor of the Strong West lab, which runs an average of 6,800 lab tests each month – which is more than six times the number it processed when it first opened.
She oversees a team of two other fulltime medical technologists (Elizabeth Chartraw and Becky Phelps) who operate 24/7 with assistance from three med techs from the Strong Memorial Hospital lab who help cover shifts. The lab also currently has open positions.
Working at Strong West means the lab is part of a highly collaborative healthcare team – where you get to know the names and faces of the nurses and attending physicians in the Emergency Department and other service lines.
“It’s a different look at medicine in a lot of ways,” said Baker. “It’s more collaborative and it lets a lot of camaraderie go forward so we’re not just ‘the lab’ anymore. It’s ‘Sue that works in the lab,’ and I think that’s a nice kind of difference.”
The lab team is responsible for intake, testing, and reporting results of patient specimens. While their test volume isn’t nearly as big as larger labs at Strong Memorial Hospital or Bailey Road, it means the team must cover certain tasks themselves.
For example, there isn’t a separate team to handle specimen receiving, materials management staff, or maintenance and quality control for the lab’s 12 analyzers.
“We do all our receiving and spinning of specimens,” Baker said. “We unpack all our own boxes and do inventory. There’s more to what we do than just bench work.”
Everyone who works at Strong West serves a unique purpose of providing care for patients who can access services close to home without having to drive into Rochester – and the staff are reminded of this on a daily basis.
You can walk into a store in the village of Brockport wearing your University ID badge and people will say thank you for working in our community, Baker says. “There’s a nice community feel here, not only in the community but in the building itself.”
In photos: The Strong West lab’s three fulltime med techs include (from left) Becky Phelps, Sue Baker (supervisor), and Elizabeth Chartraw.