Take your first step toward a Truly Innovative clinical laboratory science career at Northwell Health
Want to start a career helping our physicians make informed decisions by providing critical information? Northwell has a variety of clinical laboratory science opportunities available across our health system to help you kickstart your career. Candidates with a high school diploma can explore exciting careers in clinical laboratory sciences that require some certification and/or previous work experience.
Northwell is committed to ensuring our Truly Innovative laboratory team members have the best career experience while empowering career growth and development within our organization to help everyone reach their goals. We offer a career framework with roles structured into clear career paths, and a GROW model that enables managers and team members to discuss career aspirations openly.
Below, you will find some of the clinical laboratory science career opportunities Northwell has to offer that only require a high school diploma and either a certification and/or training program experience.
Clinical Laboratory Careers at Northwell Health, Raise Your Career Expectations
Clinical laboratory science careers at Northwell Health provide opportunities so you can learn, grow and raise your career expectations in a field where you can impact the community by providing important medical information for healthcare decisions. Whether your career journey is just starting out, you’re advancing along your journey, or you’ve begun to explore a new direction, Northwell has the resources to support and guide you on your path.
Below, you will find information on one of the many career paths for a laboratory technologist. For the complete job profile of each role, we invite you to visit NorthwellCareers.com, or click on the link below to discover a career well cared for with our team. There are many ways to grow in a clinical laboratory position outside of this path as well, from quality to education and more.
Check out our open clinical laboratory science positions here.
Meet Cynthia, a specimen dispatcher of pathology at Lenox Hill Hospital, encouraged to take on new opportunities and grow within Northwell
As a specimen dispatcher of pathology at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, Cynthia Bender is responsible for receiving and sorting various specimens, including blood, skin cells and saliva, that are sent for laboratory testing. After each specimen is tested, Cynthia reviews the collected clinical data and shares the results with the clinician, so the clinician can identify what procedures may be recommended for treating the patient.
Cynthia started her career with Northwell more than 30 years ago as an evening, part-time phlebotomist. From there, she was able to continue her education and receive her associate’s degree in business administration before moving into a full-time phlebotomist role. In 1995, she transferred to Northwell’s Raisler Testing, Outpatient Center in Manhattan, one of the largest laboratory systems in the Northeast and assisted at the center until September 2005. That same year Cynthia transferred to her current position in the send out department at Lenox Hill Hospital, a 652-bed acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “I love that my work as a pathology assistant allows me to make a difference in the lives of our patients at Northwell. We help clinicians diagnose patients faster to better treat them. It brings a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am aiding in their treatment.”
Cynthia shared that she was attracted to Northwell long before she applied for her first job here because of our reputation as one of the best health systems in the nation. Throughout her career at Northwell, Cynthia has been able to serve in several different positions because she is always encouraged to learn more. “The support that I received to develop in my field encouraged me to take on new opportunities and grow within the organization,” Cynthia shared adding, “I have been able to take advantage of several programs, including our mentorship program that pairs new staff with different leaders.” Today, Northwell has over 60 mentorships programs to help prepare current and future employees through the support and guidance of seasoned Health Raisers who share their knowledge and experience.
When asked if she could offer any advice to those looking into the field of pathology, Cynthia advises anyone starting their career to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. “Where you are right now is not where you will end up at the end of your career. Hard work pays off, so take advantage of every opportunity that may come your way.”
Start your career in clinical laboratory science at Northwell Health
Interested in beginning a new career journey in clinical laboratory science? Northwell Health has a variety of entry-level clinical laboratory opportunities for those who are looking to take their first steps toward a new career. At Northwell, we encourage and empower our team members to grow and develop in their career through a variety of ways, including tuition reimbursement, Northwell’s Center for Learning & Innovation (CLI), mentorship programs and other professional development opportunities.
Below, you will find information about some of the clinical laboratory career opportunities Northwell offers that require a high school diploma or equivalent, or a certification. Begin your career journey today and discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health.
Check out our open clinical laboratory positions across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Westchester here.
Top Five Reasons to Work Night Shifts at Northwell Health
At Northwell Health, working night shifts has several benefits from having the flexibility in your schedule for child care and family to pay differential. As a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Northwell provides many night shift opportunities in nursing, nursing support, respiratory therapists, clinical labs, ACPs and more. Learn more about our top reasons below, and begin your journey to a career well cared for at Northwell Health.
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Raise your Career Expectations with these Top Reasons to Work Night Shifts at Northwell Health
Working night shifts at Northwell Health comes along with several benefits that can make a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. As a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Northwell offers career growth opportunities that are easily attainable to night shift professionals in labs and nursing roles. Check out our top reasons below, and jump start your journey to a career well cared for.
How Veteran Lenore Brathwaite uses skills she learned in the U.S. Army at Northwell Health Laboratories
Lenore Brathwaite is a six-year Army Reserves veteran, two years deployed during Desert Storm, and a project manager of operations at Northwell Health Labs.
Lenore gained vital skills in the military that help shaped her civilian career today. In the U.S. Army, she held many roles such as a sergeant, blood transfusion coordinator, and phlebotomy supervisor. She gained experience with communications and leadership, as well as the ability to work under pressure and problem solve.
“The military taught me to handle change and adapt to new situations in a short amount of time,” says Lenore. “My flexibility to adapt to changing environments allows me to stay productive and positive. As a section sergeant I always had to remain calm and be confident in my leadership decisions for my team.”
Transitioning into healthcare
Lenore’s interest in healthcare sparked when she was in high school and her mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She saw how important it was to be the voice for the patient and to always have empathy and patience. This is what she practices with her team now as she helps lead projects.
She started her Northwell journey in 2012 as a point of care supervisor at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. This role gave Lenore the opportunity to coach her team to provide quality care. Throughout the years, she has grown her career in hospital laboratory operations. In her current role as a project manager, Lenore coordinates with senior leadership, assists in projects, and prepares financial and quarterly reports. And her clinical laboratory technologist experience enables her to help lead and pitch in to help her team when necessary, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lenore is also a member of Northwell’s veteran-focused Business Employee Resource Group VALOR (Veterans and Allies: Liaisons of Reintegration). Being a part of this group allows her to connect with other members of the military, veterans and their families. “VALOR has great resources to help veterans transition. We are a BERG comprised of fellow veterans from all roles across the organization. Who better to understand the hardship of transitioning from military to civilian status but us,” Lenore says.
Being a part of VALOR provided Lenore with a network of supporters. Her Northwell team members encouraged her to believe in herself and become commander of her post: Hunter Squires Jackson Post 1218 American Legion.
Lenore feels supported, encouraged, and honored at Northwell as a veteran and encourages fellow veterans to explore the limitless opportunities that are offered. “Northwell Health encourages you to jump out on your own. When you finally get the courage to jump out, you feel like you are flying like an eagle.”
Get to know our team members behind the scenes during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week
This week Northwell Health is celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week! Our Medical Laboratory professionals play a vital role within our organization by providing crucial information for detecting, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring a patient’s disease. They are our healthcare heroes behind the scenes!
Meet some of our team members:
Ryan Brenkret, Lead Cytology Technologist, Anatomic Pathology Services, Division of Cytology
Working as a lead cytology technologist, Ryan’s primary role is to screen and diagnose cytology cases using a light microscope to look mainly for cancer, infectious diseases, as well as other inflammatory conditions which people may suffer from. “My favorite thing about my career is trying to figure out what the patient has and provide a quality diagnosis, says Ryan. “We as cytologists really have the power to help the patients by providing accurate diagnoses or also by detecting a patient’s cancer in the early stage. Then they can receive the proper, life-saving treatments.”
Daisey Williams, Pathology Histology Technician, Staten Island University Hospital North
As a histology technician Daisey plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, by turning tissue samples into microscopic slides. Leadership has been a constant role model and support system for Daisey where she can voice her opinions and ideas. “My favorite part of this field is knowing that my work can provide our patients with a diagnosis and aide in their treatment and their next steps to recovery,” says Daisey.
Sean Houston, Clinical Lab Technologist, Automated Lab
As a lab technologist, Sean is responsible for running general immunoassay chemistry and drugs of abuse testing on the state-of-the-art, automated Roche line. Sean is within his first year at Northwell and he is looking forward to continuous growth within the organization and laboratory field. His favorite thing about working as a lab technologist? “I enjoy working alongside my diverse and well-skilled team!”
Christina Mikell, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Histology, Plainview Hospital
In Christina’s role, she aides in the processing of surgical tissue specimens. This is where they would chemically preserve the tissue so that they can then embed, cut, and stain representative sections on microscope slides. Within her role, she also performs specialty stains on slides that can help identify certain diseases and/or infections. As a new graduate, Christina has learned many skills within the pathology lab that will help her grow in her career. “My favorite thing about working as a lab tech in the histology department is the hands-on creative work that we get to perform every day,” says Christina. “I am able to take my technical knowledge and create something that can really be seen as beautiful.”
Michael Desimone, Histology Pathology Assistant, North Shore University Hospital
Working as a pathologist assistant, Michael partakes in high-quality patient care primarily through macroscopic evaluation, examination, and dissection of all surgical pathological specimens that come through the lab. Apart of being a pathologist assistant, Michael has enjoyed growing as an educator for pathology residents, pathologist assistant students, and medical technologist students. “We’re able to bring a pathologic process that a student once learned in a classroom and connect it with a real-life patient and specimen, with real implications for care,” says Michael. “I take a particular pride in teaching students and residents important details in macroscopic examination that make a large difference for cancer staging.”
Alexa Duque, Anatomical, Pathology Assistant, Lenox Hill Hospital
As a pathologist assistant, Alexa facilitates the diagnostic process by providing a comprehensive macroscopic examination and evaluation of all surgical pathological specimens. Alexa started her Northwell career journey two years ago and has grown into her role by supporting the lab in different areas. One example includes assisting her supervisor with process improvements which allowed her to gain new skills and insight. “I love that it is primarily hands on and that I get to appreciate the fascinating anatomy of the human body while being able to help patients behind the scenes,” says Alexa.
Roby P. Raju, Supervisor, Clinical Laboratory Operations, Center for Advanced Medicine
As a supervisor in his role, Roby oversees the day-to-day laboratory operations for his team. He ensures the laboratory maintains and follows compliance standards and regulations set by both accrediting and government agencies. “My favorite thing about being a laboratory technologist is that I am proud of the results we provide to the physicians and nurses from our laboratory,” says Roby.
Became a Health Raiser and discover a career well cared for, explore clinical laboratory careers. Apply today!
Grow your laboratory career inside Northern Westchester Hospital’s state-of-the-art clinical laboratory
With a state-of-the-art clinical laboratory built in 2020, Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) is a perfect opportunity for laboratory technologists to grow their career and develop their skills with access to the latest in technology. Spanning 12,000 square feet across two floors, NWH’s lab team processes around 350,000 tests per year in Chemistry, Hematology, Coagulation, Urinalysis, and Molecular Microbiology, and provides a full-service Pathology lab.
And as part of a community hospital notably designated as a Planetree Hospital, NWH’s team members foster a culture of respect, empathy and quality care. This spirit of collaboration is embraced by the team members as they work in an interdisciplinary team to support services at NWH including the Emergency Department, the Cath Lab, Maternity unit and more. NHW’s dedicated clinical lab team members aid clinicians in determining their patients’ diagnosis and further the hospital’s commitment to providing the highest standard of quality patient care.
Beyond offering the latest technology, NWH provides its lab professionals with an innovative environment where team members are encouraged and supported with growth opportunities to continue their career journey. Support that Lori Robbins, senior manager of clinical laboratory operations, can attest to personally.
Lori started her laboratory career at NWH in 2003 as a part-time medical technologist working primarily in Microbiology and Chemistry. In 2007, she transitioned to a full-time position in Microbiology and when the opportunity for advancement arose, Lori took it. She became senior manager where she now works to ensure compliance with regulatory agency requirements, oversees orientation of new employees, manages laboratory safety and serves as the quality systems manager.
Beyond just developing her skills in the laboratory, Lori benefitted from Northwell’s professional and clinical development opportunities, such as classes at the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI). She credits participating in ALEAD, a leadership development program at CLI, with helping her to further grow as a leader. “Being part of Northwell provides us with ample professional support and all the necessary resources,” says Lori. “ALEAD was a great opportunity to develop leadership skills in all aspects of management. Working with peers from different disciplines throughout the system, we shared experiences and, through open discussion sessions, imparted practical knowledge with each other.”
When asked why they love working in the lab, technologists listed work/life balance, great benefits, understanding and supportive leadership, knowledgeable team members, and an environment where everyone is always willing to help among their top reasons. “NWH is a welcoming, friendly facility whose mission is to provide quality patient care supported with the latest technology,” says Lori. “In addition to our patient focus, NWH is fully committed to its staff and community.”
And with the potential for a $10,000 sign-on bonus for eligible laboratory technologists applying to our night positions, there has never been a better time to join the team at NWH! Explore opportunities today.
Why our Phlebotomists love working at Northwell Health
Phlebotomists at Northwell Health play an important role by collecting blood samples from our patients. These blood samples can help identify a patient’s diagnosis and ultimately help doctors create a treatment plan for them. In February we are celebrating National Phlebotomists Recognition Week and we are proud to recognize the hard work and compassionate care that our phlebotomists deliver every day.
Meet some of our team members and learn why they love being a phlebotomist at Northwell:
Luz Puig, Phlebotomist, Glen Cove Hospital
“My favorite thing about being a phlebotomist at Northwell is meeting patients and learning from their life experiences. I truly enjoy when they share their stories and I have a desire to make them feel comfortable and loved. During these hard times of COVID, my heart breaks to know many of the patients are alone during this process. I believe my role plays an important part in the healing of each patient as it is the start of a treatment for our community members.”
Glenna McKenzie, Phlebotomist, Syosset Hospital
“I have been a phlebotomist at Syosset Hospital for 35 years. I love being with our patients and doing my best to get their blood drawn quickly and painlessly. I love interacting with them and being able to get to know them. We understand that being ill and being in the hospital is not a high point for our patients, so I try my very best to make our patients feel better about their experience at our hospital.”
Michelle Lyn Sambajon, Lead Phlebotomist, Northwell Health Labs
“I oversee the COVID collection site for pre-procedure and pre-surgical testing. My favorite thing about working as a phlebotomist is that I enjoy being out there and helping people from their COVID test to bloodwork. Being a Phlebotomist is a rewarding opportunity to give back and help the community. It is the best feeling knowing that you’re one of the frontline team members to become a part of a person’s diagnostic treatment.”
Amanda Salerno, Mobile Phlebotomy, Northwell Health Labs and LabFly
“I provide mobile services to patients to their personal residence for bloodwork and COVID swabs. The best part of my job is making people laugh and providing compassionate care. Anything to make someone’s heart feel a little lighter when I leave makes me happy. I go into every home the same, a smile, laughter, enlightenment when needed, compassion and with comfort in the experience I provide for them. A little goes a long way.”
Maria L. Pizarro, Phlebotomist, Glen Cove Hospital
“I’ve worked at Glen Cove Hospital for 14 years as a phlebotomist. My job consists of drawing blood samples from in-patients. Patients are my priority and I really love what I do for the organization and working with my team.”
Discover a career well cared for as a phlebotomist at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Appointment With: Joseph Castagnaro, VP, Lab Services Integration and Operations
Joseph Castagnaro has grown in his laboratory services career at Northwell Health from being the laboratory administrative director at Southside Hospital (soon to be South Shore University Hospital). From overseeing the pre-surgical testing and patient experience departments at Southside to being promoted to senior lab administrative director and overseeing all of our community hospital labs, Joseph’s well-rounded experience has given him the skills he needs to be successful. Today as vice president, of Lab Services Integration and Operation, he is responsible for all hospital lab operations, including our health system owned labs and non-system labs we manage in other local communities. We sat down with Joseph to discuss the variety of careers in clinical laboratory and what makes working in Northwell’s labs so unique.
How has the work of our laboratory team members been vital to our organization and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and as we recover?
This past year has been one of the biggest challenges the laboratory services teams have ever seen. The COVID-19 pandemic was, and continues to be, at the forefront of every person and patient in every community nationwide. Luckily we had the fortune of building a brand-new, state-of-the-art lab a year earlier in Lake Success, NY, which ultimately gave us the ability to enhance and expand our molecular department this year in order to meet the COVID-19 testing demands in our area. Our health system has always had a great lab team and has always worked well together. This past year we had to work together in a fashion unlike ever before. The pandemic brought out the best in all of our laboratory healthcare heroes. The resiliency and teamwork of our lab staff across the health system was unprecedented.
What are some of the careers for laboratory professionals within our hospitals and Northwell Health Labs?
We have a variety of clinical labs in Long Island, New York City, Staten Island and the Westchester areas that range in size and scope and we operate 24/7 across 365 days a year. Whatever type of lab or shift you’re looking for, we have it available. Aside from the MDs, pathologists, pathology assistants, cytotechnologists, PhDs, laboratory technologists, technicians and phlebotomists, we have many other types of positions from entry level to very specialized areas which include:
Lab Information System Specialists
Quality Managers and Specialists
Lab Support Associates
Route Service Drivers
What makes working at Northwell Health unique?
Working at Northwell is unique in so many ways:
Our health system laboratories handle EVERY aspect of lab services and testing.
We are the largest, not-for-profit health system reference lab in the region.
We’ve developed a partnership with the NYC Health + Hospitals lab services and created the largest joint venture lab in the country.
We have two core lab facilities, our automated lab and our microbiology lab that specializes in infectious disease.
We also have careers in tertiary care hospitals, small community hospitals, physician offices, cancer centers and other ambulatory settings. Whatever kind of lab you would like to work in, we have it for you!
The most important and unique thing that we do is to work as “one” lab amidst many locations. One way we did this was by establishing joint standards/methods committees. This is where we bring the experts within each lab discipline together on a regular monthly basis to network, brainstorm and determine best practices within their respective areas. This is then shared among all of our sites.
Our employee development programs are second to none. Our Center for Learning and Innovation teaches project management courses such as, LEAN and Six Sigma and basic leadership essentials classes for those looking to enhance their leadership skills. We also have an established High Potential and Lead Next program for staff already in leadership positions and our lab created a leadership development program, L-Lead (Laboratory Leadership), which is designed for new, current and future lab leaders.
Are there any exciting initiatives on the horizon for our laboratories?
We are in the process of developing a Medical Technology program with Hofstra University. Recruiting and finding laboratory staff has been difficult industry wide across the nation so we decided to grow our own. We’re also constantly upgrading our lab equipment system wide. This coming year we’ve selected new blood gas analyzers to roll out across our entire health system. The remainder of this year and well into next year, we will be addressing the probable collision of influenza and COVID-19 and how we will best be prepared to ensure we meet all of the clinical care patient needs related to laboratory testing.
Lab Professionals play an essential role in the fight against COVID-19
Northwell Health Labs has been at the forefront of innovative care before and during COVID-19. Our labs quickly established itself as a leader in processing COVID-19 tests, being the first with manual tests, and later automated testing processes. As the fight against COVID-19 evolves, so does the work of our laboratory teams. Today their focus has shifted to include antibody testing, a test that allows patients to see if they previously had the novel coronavirus.
To perform these vital tests for our communities, our laboratory team members have been working in new ways. Former laboratory technologists have volunteered to return to the floor to help meet increased testing volume while our phlebotomists have been working outside the labs at COVID-19 testing sites. The teamwork displayed has been endless as they work together behind the scenes to keep our communities safe and our clinicians informed.
Recognizing the needs in this unprecedented time, many lab professionals continue to go above and beyond to deliver care. Merissa Ashrafalli, a lab technologist in Diagnostic Immunology/Serology at Northwell Health’s Core Lab, even returned early from her paid family leave bonding time to help support the fight against the virus. “I returned early to help on the front lines during this critical time because my team needed me. Our patients are our priority. Many think of a specimen as just a sample, but that is someone’s family member.”
And her work in Serology has never been more vital as her team works to get COVID-19 samples processed in a timely manner while dealing with new testing platforms and new assay material. “Without our staff in Serology, testing could not happen,” says Merissa. “As a team we are all working and learning together in this fight.”
Serology professionals aren’t the only ones essential to the Northwell Labs. Phlebotomists play the important role of collecting the samples – the first step in getting a diagnosis so patients can receive the care they need. As part of the initial battle, phlebotomists like Amber LaGuerre, volunteered to work at the New Rochelle COVID-19 testing site, the first in the country.
“Being a part of the New Rochelle drive-thru was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Amber. “I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer because I knew it was my way to rise to the occasion and make a difference in this pandemic.” As the first testing site, the work of Amber and the other team members changed daily to ensure their testing would be as accurate as possible as the nation’s knowledge of the disease grew. It was their dedication, ability to adapt, and skills that helped make the site a success.
While Amber’s time at the testing site may have ended, she’s still working tirelessly to help patients get the care they need. As a phlebotomist with LabFly, Northwell’s mobile app that lets patients schedule blood draws at home, she’s bringing the testing process directly to our patients. “I know the work I’m doing is impactful no matter the setting I’m placed in, whether it be a hospital, nursing home, or a patient’s home,” says Amber. “Patients are more at ease being tested at home and I’m glad that we’re able to offer the convenience of LabFly to make the testing process just a little more comforting in a time of such uncertainty.”
Though work of our laboratory teams continues to evolve during the pandemic, one thing remains consistent: these healthcare heroes should be proud of the vital role they’re serving in defeating COVID-19.
“I am prouder than ever to work with Northwell Labs because I’ve seen lab personnel finally be recognized beyond the organization for the work we do,” says Merissa. “It is in these times that those who work behind the scenes get the thanks that is needed.”
“It’s very humbling to know as a phlebotomist my work is directly combating the fight against COVID-19,” agrees Amber. “The amount of gratitude I receive not only from patients, but people on the street that see me in scrubs throughout my shift, is a daily reminder of why I chose to be in healthcare.”
Northwell Health Labs provides career growth for lab technologists
When Nathan Howell first started working at Northwell Health Labs in 2016, he accepted a position as a lab support associate after graduating college. Since then he’s grown his career working in our automated lab, becoming a lab technologist and specializing in Chemistry, Special Chemistry, and Serology.
For Nathan, Northwell Health Labs was the perfect start to his career to get the well-rounded experience he needed to grow as a lab technologist. “I’m glad that I made the leap to work in the automated lab straight from school because it’s an opportunity to work alongside an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable staff and to grow exponentially as a younger technologist,” says Nathan.
And working in the automated lab, Nathan enjoyed being able to continue learning thanks to the diversity of departments there. “I’ve had the opportunity to gain experience in everything from specimen processing and accessioning, to quality control validation and assay correlation, as well as extensive instrument maintenance and troubleshooting,” says Nathan. “The scale and depth of which I have learned these skills is something that can only be obtained here at Northwell.”
Northwell’s automated laboratory is a 101,000 square-foot facility with the largest Roche automated line of its kind in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. This provides our clinical laboratory team access to the state-of-the-art equipment they need to help physicians deliver life-saving results to our patients.
With over 30 million tests performed at our 23 hospital-based labs and centralized laboratories, Nathan is able to gain experience with a variety of cases he might not see anywhere else. “Abnormalities or diseases that are typically very rare – such as 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 500,000 to even 1 in 1,000,000 – become more common. There’s something new to be seen and to learn on an almost day-to-day basis working at Northwell.”
Beyond developing his own career, working behind the scenes as one of healthcare’s “unsung heroes” is also extremely rewarding. “I take a lot of pride in knowing the work that I do and the care I put into the instruments that run our specimens has a direct impact on this lab’s ability to provide quick and accurate patient care,” says Nathan. “The level of detail and care that goes into our process to ensure we’re providing the best patient care possible is something that is unmatched anywhere else.”
What you didn’t know about Cytology and why you should consider it as a laboratory science career
When it comes to how patients are diagnosed, cytology plays a huge role. At Northwell Health, laboratory technologists and technicians who work in our state-of-the-art laboratories are very instrumental in our success. They are responsible for preparing cytology specimens for microscopic evaluation by Cytotechnologists and Cytopathologists in detecting infections, premalignant and malignant conditions.
So, in preparing for a laboratory career in Cytology, what should you know? Here’s a shortlist of what you can expect your responsibilities would be:
Preparing slides from patient samples for examination.
Evaluate the quality slides for microscopic review.
Working closely with Cytotechnologists and Cytopathologists.
Using the latest and most innovative instruments and technology like Cytospin, Centrifuges, Hologic T2000, Hologic T5000, Automatic stainers, Automatic coverslippers, Slide printing and Hologic Imagers to deliver results that make a difference.
Processing specimens, particularly for patient clinical care and research.
Upholding the highest quality of care to the community you serve.
Collaborating with a talented team of ambitious individuals like you!
Choosing to go into this profession could be life-changing, not only for you but also for the patients you help so they receive the treatment they need to be in better health. As a Cytopathology lab technician, Diane Wieczorek, stated, “It’s a very rewarding experience since you know you are helping with a patient’s diagnosis and life. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t change a thing, and as a lab technician that’s an achievement to myself.”
An Appointment With: Dr. Dwayne Breining, Executive Director, Northwell Health Labs
Starting his Northwell Health career as the director of Lab/Pathology at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital 13 years ago, Dr. Dwanye Breining held that title at multiple Northwell hospitals before coming to our Core Laboratory. Now as executive director of the Northwell Laboratories, he leads the talented team that coordinates laboratory testing for our new Core Laboratory at the Center for Advanced Medicine (CFAM), the new Core Microbiology Laboratory at Little Neck Parkway, and the 43 hospital laboratories that rely on our laboratories for reference testing. Northwell Labs is also responsible for testing for physician offices, nursing homes, the Department of Health, clinical trials, urgent care centers and more.
We sat down with Dr. Breining to discuss the growth of careers within Northwell Labs.
What types of careers are available within Northwell Labs?
While I think everyone is aware that we employ many MD & DO pathologists, as well as PhDs, laboratory technologists, and phlebotomists, not everyone knows that we also have people in sales and finance, as well as numerous IT specialists, data analysts, customer service representatives, materials management personnel and many delivery vehicle operators, and even a pharmacist. It is indeed a very big department, and we are a 24/7/365 operation – laboratory services never stop.
What makes our Labs at Northwell unique?
I like to think that we combine the best of both worlds: the high-efficiency of a commercial lab-type setting with the personal touch and hands-on engagement of your local hospital lab that knows you as a patient, and your physician as a colleague. As the largest nonprofit health system lab in the country, we have access to the most advanced medical testing technology available, including the largest Roche chemistry automation line in North America at the CFAM lab and the largest Kiestra automated microbiology system at the Little Neck Lab.
We are recognized internationally as an innovator in the laboratory industry, not just on the technology side but also in the business arena through forming unique partnerships with other health systems such as the one we formed with NYC Health & Hospitals, in which we also serve as the Core Laboratory for their 18 hospitals and affiliated clinics. Another unique innovation we just launched, and are especially proud of, is LabFly. This is an Uber-like app, available for both iOS and Android devices, to have our phlebotomy services come to you, in your home or office at whatever time is convenient, for a low convenience fee. We are seeing rapidly growing interest in this type of service.
Why should Bio/Chem students who are unsure of what they want to do as a career explore the clinical lab field?
The level of fulfillment and sense of purpose one derives from working within healthcare in general, and knowing that the work you do directly affects the well-being of our community, is second to none, as any healthcare professional can attest. In the lab tech arena specifically, you will never be bored, as there are over 30 different tech sub-specialty areas in which to train, which creates many opportunities for career advancement. There is regular interaction with colleagues from all aspects of the lab, and also with physicians, office and hospital staff, and even school students and the general public at times. In addition, many of our Laboratory Information System computer specialists started out as lab techs, and are now trained and regularly installing and troubleshooting the highly advanced medical information systems that make modern healthcare run.
Why is Northwell an employer of choice for lab professionals?
Because of our demanding position within a large, leading healthcare system, we will always be at the cutting edge of clinical laboratory medicine. There are abundant opportunities for career evolution and advancement, and our staff can choose to partake in as much as they like. We work hard to create a comfortable and collegial work environment (after all, we all spend almost half our waking hours at work) because we want to attract and retain the best of the best.
Where do you see the future of clinical laboratory sciences evolving?
The future of the lab industry is incredibly bright. New testing technology keeps coming along faster than we can automate the simpler testing, and it is always a challenge to have enough techs coming on-board to keep up with it. In addition, we are already seeing opportunities for the lab to step more forward in healthcare, and participate in things like patient risk assessment, care coordination and escalation, and population health, especially given an aging population., We expect these trends to continue well into the future.
Explore clinical laboratory careers at Northwell Health
Clinical Laboratory Careers at Northwell’s Automated Lab
Watch the video below to discover why our laboratory technologists love working in our innovative automated laboratory; home of the largest Roche automated line of its kind in the U.S. and one of the largest labs in the world.
Take a tour of Northwell’s brand-new automated lab in Lake Success, NY. The 101,000 square-foot facility has 84,000 square feet of clinical space, including the largest chemistry and hematology automated line of its kind in North America.
Clinical Laboratory Careers in Microbiology
Hear from Ebru, a clinical laboratory technologist, about working at the brand new Microbiology Laboratory at Northwell Health Labs in the video below.
Northwell’s Brand-New Microbiology Laboratory
Tour our brand new Microbiology lab in Little Neck, NY which primarily performs microbiology tests, including molecular diagnostics, from local hospitals, clinics and physician offices, incorporating the latest technology and advanced robotic testing systems.
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Teamwork award recognizes a team who is flexible, hardworking and made for unwavering support. They successfully collaborate to improve quality, financial performance and/or patient-centric care by leveraging and embracing diversity while creating a feeling of belonging. Meet this year’s finalists.
Deliver the Vote Lenox Hill Hospital
A pair of nurses with a strong commitment to upholding the right to vote, and an amazing determination not to take no for an answer enabled dozens of hospitalized patients to participate in the American electoral system.
Their efforts began two years ago when a patient inquired about voting but at that point, they were unable to help. Ahead of the 2018 election, Lisa Schavrien and Erin Smith decided to be pro-active, exploring ways to help their patients be heard at the ballot box. Their inquiries led them to a series of rejections by boards of elections, non-responses from political offices and a trip to a courtroom in Queens.
With the help from other volunteers, they canvassed their hospital for patients who wanted to vote. In one room, a patient facing brain surgery managed to cast her vote before surgery; in another, a patient’s partner was unable to get a ballot for the patient because they weren’t married, but Lisa obtained a ballot for him.
Voting may not seem like an issue clinical team members need to tackle, and they could find no other hospital making the same effort, but thanks to this team that went above and beyond, 75 Northwell patients were able to cast their ballots.
ECMO-TO-GO Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Southside Hospital
Made up of a team of well-honed specialists, ECMO-TO-GO takes its life-saving skills wherever they are needed, elevating the level of care available to seriously ill patients. The team develops its successes with the cardiopulmonary bypass technique through continuity of communication and care delivered by all team members, commitment to continuous improvement and the depth of care provided by experts from across Northwell. The innovative approach of the team traveling to the patient rather than the other way around means a highly qualified, seasoned team is available to the sickest of patients. With a mortality rate of about 50 percent in these kinds of patients, the concept of such a team grew out of the establishment of an acute lung injury program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the launch of a heart transplant program. Northwell physicians recognized the need to provide stable, quality care as quickly as possible, leading to the ECMOTO- GO program.
The strength of the group comes from their ability to harness their differences in expertise to meet the dire needs of a complicated patient population. They do so with seamless coordination, deep compassion, and deliberate communication ultimately forging something stronger than any individual person.
Food as Health Implementation Team Long Island Jewish Valley Stream
Team members have put reliable access to food at the center of a pioneering effort to improve the health of their patients. After people in multiple departments recognized that some patients had trouble finding affordable, nutritious food when they returned home, a team came together to brainstorm some solutions. Their conclusions: provide discharged patients with the resources to find affordable foods and to prepare meals that would help restore them to health.
The Food as Health (FAH) Program screens patients from the outpatient wound care center, and one inpatient unit for food insecurity. Patients in need with nutrition-related conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, unintentional weight loss) are referred to the appropriate FAH service arm for support. Patients who are mobile and able to cook for themselves are referred to the FAH hospital-based onsite resource center. The patient is provided two days’ worth of nutritious emergency food, nutrition education and counseling, and referrals to community resources.
The collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary workgroup to identify clinical partners, establish workflows, reports and outcomes is a significant reason for the successful implementation of the FAH program. The team continues to work together to identify the outcome measures and establish reporting to demonstrate improvement in patient outcomes and hospital data such as decreased readmissions.
Inpatient Charge Capture (IPCC) Corporate, Revenue Cycle Operations, Medical Group
When a small group of data-savvy professionals began examining the question of whether Northwell was billing and collecting for every professional service provided in hospitals, it quickly became clear that they needed more expertise.
The question of revenue capture is a long-standing one and quantifying it and executing a process across the health system was huge challenge. The team grew to involve several Information Services disciplines and data experts and as it grew, so did the project. Instead of finding a basic report on where to find the revenue opportunities, the team produced much more. They came up with a real-time, web-based tool that allows service lines and/ or individuals to know what the missing billing opportunities are daily/weekly/monthly. It allows the user to filter by service line, hospital, provider and unit. The tool is easy to navigate and provides a weekly “subscription” service for providers.
The deep dive in the collaborative effort also identified a $10 million revenue opportunity for Northwell, the result of experts collaborating and using their own areas of expertise to produce a positive outcome.
Northwell Transfusion Medicine Northwell Health Labs
A team of professionals collaborated to take on the challenge of ensuring Northwell hospitals maintained fresh and adequate supply of platelets to cope with both routine and emergency use. Maintaining a blood product supply is essential to optimal patient care, but daily usage can be difficult to forecast. Platelets, expensive to produce, test and store, have a short shelf life and frequently expire before they can be used.
This team’s bold solution to meeting the need and reducing costly waste was to develop a delivery system that moves blood products throughout the health system, with many ultimately winding up at the hospitals that routinely need them the most. Breaking away from the existing system, the team began with data, figuring out a system to outline a new distribution process. That birthed a “Round Robin” transportation system to reduce supplemental and emergency deliveries. The concept of rotating platelets from the community hospitals to the final destination of one of two tertiary hospitals is based on usage. Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital combined utilize as many as 50 units a day for Cardiac, Trauma, Surgical, Oncology and Transplant services. Through extensive monitoring and trending of patient platelet needs, a dramatic savings of more than $200,000 was realized in 2018 in expiration waste.
School-Based Vocational Services South Oaks Hospital
A committed group of professionals provides students challenged by intellectual and developmental disabilities with services that are tailored to individuals from 27 school districts across Long Island. Students receive coachin g, job readiness training and social skills development in both a classroom and professional setting with more than 100 participating companies with the goal of promoting independence and developing skills to prepare these young adults to enter the workforce after graduation.
The collaboration of these team members led to 64% of the graduating students finding employment post-graduation. On a daily basis, this team manages to touch the lives of more than 200 youths and parents, on Long Island. Nearly all of the team members work remotely and are required to travel throughout their day to meet the needs of the various sites they are working to serve.
The team has been able to create new approaches to learning in school settings by implementing in-school businesses where students can improve work readiness skills. Through personal dedication and putting creativity to work, they are making big differences in the lives of these students.
The Fin Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Experts with a diverse set of skills devised and conducted the first pilot clinical trial of the Fin, a novel 3D-printed swim prosthesis designed for use in a recreational pool setting. The dedicated group was seeking ways to improve recreational opportunities for people with lower-limb amputations, who, according to studies, are less likely to participate in physical activity than the general population.
Often working on their own time, they established protocols to ensure a thorough test that respected each individual’s dignity and needs while examining all aspects of the prosthesis. The most common design for a swim prosthesis has a fixed angle foot (“ankle foot”) that is at 90 degrees with the floor, which, while it is easy to use in the water, is not useful when walking over ground or transitioning into and out of the water. The 3-D printing also significantly lowers the typical cost of the prosthesis.
All participants in the test found the prosthesis easy to put on and take off. The majority (71%) of participants reported being extremely satisfied with the prosthesis.
Every member of the multidisciplinary team brought to the project their passion for wanting to improve the quality of life, participation and inclusion for individuals with lower limb amputations.
Day in the life: A specimen and the laboratory professionals who help diagnose outcomes at Core Lab
When you get blood drawn, there are a number of professionals who interact with your specimen to get the results necessary for continuing your care. From the phlebotomist who draws your blood to the clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) who analyzes your result, clinical laboratory professionals are the backbone of helping doctors to diagnose illness.
Northwell’s new state-of-the-art Core Lab performs 20 million routine tests that Northwell performs annually within our laboratories and hospitals. Spanning 101,000 square-feet, it’s the largest health system-based lab in the region and the largest Roche chemistry and hematology line of its kind in North America.
We followed the route a specimen takes and met with the lab team members who play a vital role in the outcomes.
The Phlebotomist draws the specimen
Before any testing can occur, the specimen needs to be collected. Northwell’s phlebotomists meet with patients to draw their blood at the beginning of their care. “It’s the first step for everything medical,” says Bulah Martin, lead phlebotomist who has worked at Northwell for more than 10 years. Once the blood has been drawn, phlebotomists like Bulah let it clot before placing it in the centrifuge, scanning it in the system, and preparing it for transport. From there it’ll head to Core Lab for routine testing like abnormal cell screens and white blood cell counts.
The Transporter moves the specimen
After the blood is taken, the specimen has to travel from one of Northwell’s centers to our Core Lab. That’s where staff professionals who are transporters come in. Picking up the samples, they’re able to make sure that the specimens are delivered in a timely and safe manner. “It goes beyond driving and transporting specimens,” says Gavendra Kuarlall, route service representative, “we’re part of helping patients at the onset of their medical needs.”
Lab Accessioner processes the specimen
Now that the specimen has been delivered, it’s time for processing. Lab accessioners have the important job of entering the specimen’s information, verifying the information to ensure accuracy, and sorting it into the right department. “Making sure the samples are correct and accurate impacts the patient care,” says Claudia Coronado, a senior accessioner who has worked at Northwell for more than 11 years, “and we take pride in what we do.”
Once the specimen has been processed and sorted, runners get the specimens where they need to go. A runner at the Core Lab, however, won’t have much need to actually run. This state-of-the-art facility has two parallel automatic testing lines to efficiently transport specimens for the laboratory’s chemistry and hematology testing.
Clinical Laboratory Scientists analyze the specimen
Advanced robotics testing systems and automatic testing lines within departments like Hematology allow clinical laboratory scientists to focus on monitoring accuracy and quality. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field using my scientific knowledge,” says Kelly Kim, a technical specialist in Hematology, Coagulation and Analysis. “This field is perfect for putting both together.”
Blood Bank Technologists analyze the specimen
Certain testing may require interaction with a blood bank technologist, like Trisha Jaikaran, who tests the sample for blood type, blood screens, and antibody screens. At the Core Lab, they test mainly the OB-GYN patient population and work with the doctors and Client Services to deliver patients their results.
“Being part of the Core Lab, you have the opportunity to learn about the other side of patient care,” says Trisha who has worked at Northwell for nearly three years, “The knowledge you gain from the more experienced technologists is great. There’s a lot of theoretical work beyond just the automated tests – you’re learning something new every day. It keeps you on your toes.”
Lab Client Services team provides specimen testing updates
When the specimen is done with testing, it’s time for the patients to get their results. That’s where Client Services come in. This team acts as a liaison between the clinical laboratory and the doctors. Handling around 2,000 inbound calls a day, Client Services helps doctors who are looking for results, status updates, pick-ups, or additional information. Suzana Mathew, an educator who has worked in Client Services for six years, likens it to being a detective, “There can be a lot of mystery solving to get the right answers for the doctors. I enjoy the technical side where I can help doctors understand their results, track down the answers they need and assist with next steps.”
As an educator, Suzana works with new employees through their six months of training and offers support beyond that period. “Working in Client Services is a great place to start because as you grow, you learn about every part of the lab. It trains you to be a well-rounded professional.”
While getting blood results may seem simple, there are a lot of clinical laboratory team members working behind the scenes to ensure results are delivered accurately, timely, and safely. From sample to results, our laboratory professionals work together to deliver the best patient care possible.
Day in the life: Lab Technologist at Southside Hospital
Working as a laboratory technologist at Southside Hospital for 40 years, Emilie Moyse considers herself part of the evolution of lab. Emilie, or as her coworkers affectionately call her, Emmy, works 8am-4pm at Southside every Monday through Friday where her expertise and positive attitude have made her a staple to the clinical laboratory team.
To keep their skills sharp, Southside’s lab technologists rotate through the different departments on a weekly basis. This week, Emmy is working in Hematology where she’ll analyze blood samples and deliver lab results that will help doctors determine patient care. We followed her to see a day in a life as a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) also known as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) at Southside Hospital.
Arriving to the lab, Emmy likes to start each day by greeting each of her coworkers to set the mood for a good day. After putting on her lab coat, Emmy’s ready for the morning rounds.
Morning rounds for our doctors mean morning rounds for our lab! Specimens come in and are received by lab processors like Michelle Zambrano. Michelle processes and distributes the specimens from the floor and operating room to the laboratory technologists in different departments, such as Emmy in Hematology.
Differential slide means Emmy uses the microscope to identify white and red blood cell counts to help doctors deliver the right diagnoses to patients. “I love working in Hematology and learning more and more. It’s very manual and detail-oriented. I get excited to come to work and help the patients. I get to make sure the patients aren’t waiting for the results they need.”
Emmy relies on coworkers like fellow MLT, Geolina Turkonje, as much as she supports them. “Working together, we can accomplish a lot and I care for all of my coworkers like a big family. Southside has become my second home. I would encourage anyone to come here.” Emmy’s worked alongside Geolina for eight years – a friendship that’s helped the days pass quickly.
With the lab inside the hospital, it means that sometimes results are needed quickly. When a patient’s specimen comes in labeled “special handling” or “stat” the laboratory technologists know that they need to analyze the samples as quickly as possible. Doctors wait for critical lab results so that they can treat the patients. “Patients cannot wait,” says Emmy.
Luckily, Southside Hospital has a lot of innovative technology to help lab technologists get the quick results they need. “The most amazing thing here are our analyzers,” says Emmy, “I’m very proud and fortunate to see all the changes in technology we have. It’s good for the laboratory and patients – and it’s good for us too. We’re faster and more accurate. What used to take us a half hour now takes us five or ten minutes.”
Given her extensive experience, Emmy also spends a lot of time training within the lab. Here she oversees a new lab technologist, Stefani Gomez, as she prepares blood samples on slides. “Working here is a great opportunity,” says Emmy, “You have so much to learn and there are technologists who have been here a long time and are willing to help you.”
In between analyzing specimens, Emmy stops to pick up a ringing phone. “When everyone is so busy, you have to help each other out,” she explains. “Answering the phone when a clerk is busy not only helps them, but it’s important. The calls could be impacting patient care.”
“I’ve been here a long time and have seen a lot of change for the better,” says Emmy. “I feel very privileged to be here and be part of that evolution. Our leadership has made a big difference in the lab.” Leadership like Laurie Birnbaum, admin director of the Clinical Laboratory at Southside Hospital who Emmy stops to review metrics with before heading out for the day. “If you have a problem, you can tell Laurie and she will always help you. She’s always looking out for her employees and for the lab. She’s very considerate, caring and loving. We’re very lucky to have her as our director here.”
Join Emmy and the whole Clinical Laboratory team at Southside Hospital. Apply today!
On the cutting edge and a slice above the rest – Who is a Histotechnologist?
Every March 10th, we celebrate Histotechnology Professionals Day to help raise awareness about the laboratory field of Histotechnology. Despite never meeting patients, histotechnologists play a vital healthcare role in helping patients receive the right diagnosis and care. These laboratory professionals are helping save lives one slide at a time.
But what does a histotechnologist do? To understand the profession, you must first understand Histology.
What is Histology?
Histology is the study of the microanatomy of cells, tissues, and organs as seen through a microscope.
A histotechnologist has advanced training in how and why specimens are collected and processed for testing. This expertise qualifies the histotechnologist to manage even unexpected situations in the laboratory, such as solving technical or instrument problems, understanding the underlying health and disease causes of unusual test results, and evaluating new laboratory techniques and procedures. Histotechnicians and histotechnologists must work quickly, as they are frequently under pressure to deliver results while the patient is in surgery. They are commonly referred to as “histotechs”.
What does a histotech do?
When the pathology lab receives the patient’s tissue sample, it is first examined and dissected by a pathologists’ assistant who will submit tissue samples in a fixative (usually formalin) to the Histology Lab for processing. Some histotechs are also able to gross small specimen biopsies for processing. This process includes a dictation of their “naked” eye description of the tissue which appears in the patient’s final report.
Colleen S. preparing to gross renal biopsies for processing.
Ana V. grossing biopsy specimens.
Histotechs work around the clock and play a large role in saving lives, but do it in an orderly fashion. The first step in tissue processing is to run the tissue sample through a series of alcohols to remove any water, clear the tissue in xylene and infiltrate the tissue sample in paraffin (wax material). The Histotech will then embed the tissue in melted paraffin, creating a “paraffin block”, which hardens to room temperature.
George S. loading cassettes in the tissue processor
Lori A. loading cassettes in the tissue processor.
Patrick F. embedding the tissue in cassettes.
Rachel R. embedding the tissue in cassettes.
The next step is for the paraffin blocks to be cut/sliced on a microtome, also known as microtomy, at paper-thin or less slices (measured in microns). This process will create a ribbon of tissue sections which is floated on a temperature-controlled, heated waterbath. The histotech will then pick up the tissue sections, placing them on a glass slide and routinely stained with special dyes that make the cell details visible under the microscope. The pathologist can now microscopically examine the tissue on the slide and determine if disease is present, or if it has spread, and help the clinician decide the best course of treatment for the patient.
Aparna G. cutting ribbons of tissue on microtome (microtomy).
Yana M. cutting ribbons of tissue on microtome (microtomy).
Cryotomy, a frozen section procedure to perform a rapid microscopic analysis/diagnosis of a fresh tissue sample, is also performed by a histotech. These samples are sent from the surgeon in the operating room, while the patient is still under anesthesia, allowing the pathologist to provide an immediate analysis/diagnosis to aid the surgeon on how to proceed with the surgery.
Histotechs can also perform more complex techniques such as enzyme histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. A histotechnologist can also teach and be a supervisor in a laboratory.
LIJ Immunohistochemistry Lab: Guillermo P., Perry A., Steve M., Danielle L
Histotechs will tell you that their work is an art form. They value precision and work with knives, chemicals and glass slides, as well as fragile, delicate instruments that require careful monitoring.
While patients do not see or speak with the lab team helping behind the scenes, the connection is still very meaningful for the histotechs. They care about the production side of their work and the quality of the slides. All histotechs will tell you they treat every specimen as if it belongs to one of their own family members waiting for their test results.
Thank you to all of Northwell’s histotechnologists!
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