Today’s guest is Emily Yates! Listen in as she shares her perspectives on the laboratory and teamwork!
Emily Yates MBA, MLS, ASCP
Emily Yates lives in Elizabethtown, KY and is the laboratory manager at her local hopsital. She has obtained a Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science with a certification in Medical Laboratory Science.
She is married with two fur babies and is “a total nerd at heart.”
- Emily discussed how basically her whole job is communication based.
- She recounts the change in mindset going from worker to supervisor… the need to think about the big picture.
- Emily sometimes feels that people don’t understand everything the lab does.
- We discussed burnout being real for laboratory workers as well and Emily feels this may be due to working in silos.
“It’s just understanding that we all have the same goal, appreciating the other’s expertise and realizing what you are an expert at and what you are not.”
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Andrew Tisser 0:11
Welcome to the Talk2MeDoc Podcast where it’s all about communication among the entire healthcare team. Let’s talk to each other more effectively so that we can truly help our patients and now your host, Dr. Andrew Tisser. Hey guys, it’s Andrew. Welcome to the Talk2MeDoc podcast. If you’re returning listener, thank you again. If you’re new here, don’t forget to subscribe because today, like on every Episode, we bring you the best guests from all around healthcare to discuss the healthcare worker experience and how we can improve it.
Emily Yates lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky and is the laboratory manager at her local hospital laboratory. She has a master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science with a certification in medical laboratory science. She is married with two fur babies, and she states she’s a total nerd at heart. Well, without further ado, let’s bring Emily onto the show. Emily Yates Welcome to the Talk2MeDoc Podcast.
Emily Yates 1:37
Hi, how are you?
Andrew Tisser 1:39
Good. How you doing today?
Emily Yates 1:41
I’m good. I’m good. Thank you for having me on the cool opportunity and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Andrew Tisser 1:47
Yeah, thanks for agreeing to come on. I already recorded a little bio about you for the listeners. But in your own words, could you tell us who you are, what you do and your role in healthcare.
Emily Yates 2:00
My name is Emily Yates. I am my normal position his core laboratory supervisor in the local hospital that I work for. I’m actually acting as the interim lab director currently. And so it’s a fun time. My background is I have a bachelor’s in science. I’m certified in medical laboratory science. And I have a master’s in Business Administration.
Andrew Tisser 2:27
Great. What, what kind of facility Do you work at is like a larger place or a small hospital or?
Emily Yates 2:34
Yeah, we’re a 300 bed, hospital, local community hospital and county owned currently, but we are in the transition to be acquired by local larger health system. And so we’re all really excited to to see the endgame of that transition.
Andrew Tisser 2:52
Sure, that’s kind of the way medicine is going these days. You know, pluses and minuses, but sometimes it’s nice to have the resources of the greater system for sure.
Emily Yates 3:02
Yes, it is. So that’s that’s mostly what we’re excited about the the new construction and it’ll allow resources and being able to have other hospitals within the system to lean on in the way of communication.
Andrew Tisser 3:16
Absolutely. So who would you say is your team as a supervisor?
Emily Yates 3:24
Everybody, and the entire lab staff is our team. The management team in the lab is our team. All the nurses, all the PCA, the physicians, including the patient because we can’t do our job without getting the information from them as part of their healthcare team as well. Sure.
Andrew Tisser 3:46
I mean, yeah, we we wouldn’t get very far without the lab, that’s for sure.
Emily Yates 3:54
yeah, we’re happy to help.
Andrew Tisser 3:58
Have you run into many challenges in at least in the way of communication, whether that be within the lab or between the lab and other departments. And if you can think of some maybe you can go into that a little bit.
Emily Yates 4:13
Oh yeah, we are constantly trying to improve communication one way or another, whether it’s about new policies within the lab and communicating those changes and updates with the staff and getting their feedback on on ideas for greater process improvement efficiencies, communicating with nurses and physicians critical or questionable test results that maybe we need to look a little deeper into. I feel like that is pretty much our whole job. We’re we’re communicating the patient results to the nurse and the physician. Whether it’s via computer, we’re trying to make that communication as seamless as possible through auto verification of lab results. Any, any, like I said, any critical values or anything?Healthcare is communication to me.
Andrew Tisser 5:08
Yeah, I mean, that’s great. The I know just the other day I had someone from the lab call me and say I noticed this guy’s hemoglobin was low if you’re if you’re thinking about ordering a type in screen, we’ll need another whatever tube it was I don’t remember at the time and that price saved us an hour You know, and, and Okay, and now we notice it now we’ll get the tube now we’ll send it down but they were the lab tech was proactive there and it really directly benefited the patient’s care.
Emily Yates 5:39
Yes, and what we try to do and and and just deal with daily of trying to find new processes is how to make that communication hardwired. So it’s not as much person dependent and more that system dependent that our processes in place will make this automatically happen rather than Somebody being proactive, more proactive versus less proactive, so that everybody gets great patient care on a constant basis.
Andrew Tisser 6:08
You do go into that a little more, what are some strategies you guys have used?
Emily Yates 6:14
As far as flagging in our computer system, the laboratory information system that that each location uses has different rules that you can build on patient results, whether it’s for a Delta check to show that there’s a large difference in something like a hemoglobin to say, hey, you need to look into this. Did that patient have a bleed? Were they on any fluids? that could cause a great change? That could account for this or was it a wrong patient that was collected? Because that’s always a risk that we’re dealing with and trying to mitigate it that patient identification piece? Sure.
Andrew Tisser 6:50
Yeah. That’s, that’s that’s huge. do you how do you think that your role has changed as you’ve taken Going on more supervisory type positions. I mean, of course, communication is super important at every level, but as you kind of rise the ranks a little bit, how do you think that that’s changed for you?
Emily Yates 7:13
Well, I think a lot of it has changed as far as my scope of thinking. As a tech, I would think about my section that I was working for the day and that patient involved he might think about another department and how how something could involve another department within the laboratory, but I didn’t often think about outside departments within the hospital and everything and, and process changes and communicate IT issues with with those and trying to set up those new process improvements and I think that’s been the biggest thing for me of changing your your overall mindset from a what’s my scope to what is what is the entire scope what’s the bigger picture and Then, and making sure any of those communications are changes that you’re trying to communicate out, or get feedback on that you have everybody that’s possible could possibly be involved with that decision, or those process changes involved to fully vet out any any changes that occur. And I have at the table.
Andrew Tisser 8:22
yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You know, I recently I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a lab tech and about the show and she said, Well, we don’t really communicate with doctors because if there’s an issue, I just send them a message on the computer. What do you what do you think about that?
Emily Yates 8:40
Um, we it depends on what what you’re using as far as your technology in the laboratory. We don’t have direct communication with physicians as far as a messaging system. We called volt and they might have phlebotomist and nurses might have a phone that we can text or something like that. But physicians don’t have those for our locations. So we do rely on phone communication. I do think it’s important to have that back and forth. But I also completely understand the need for efficiency and to have that efficient communication, especially in the physician role of balancing all this, the needs and everybody trying to come at you at once to get you the the information needed for the patient.
Andrew Tisser 9:32
Now, to me, there’s a lot lost, though, right in the was with improving technology. I think there there’s a lot gain, but there’s a lot lost.
Emily Yates 9:41
Yeah, because you’re not able to do that easily back and forth. So it’s dependent on the physician to say, Oh, I need more information I need to call and, you know, you might not have that opportunity readily.
Andrew Tisser 9:52
Right. Absolutely. I mean, sometimes, you know, it’s like if the lab calls and say, Hey, x machine is We’re doing our best to get this going. Or these following labs are hemolyzed I think it’s a lot better and more it’s a more human relationship to be like, Okay, well things happen, then instead of seeing a flag in the computer, you know, all these things are hemolyzed or I’ve been waiting two hours for this lab, where is it?
And unless you get the perspective of, you know, you know, I think sometimes it feels to some people like whatever other job that is respiratory lab or or what have you are just kind of sitting around twiddling their thumbs while we’re waiting for for a result. And obviously, we know that’s not true. But when we get to talk to talk to you guys on the phone, and you can just be like, Yeah, we got a problem or deal with it. I think it’s a lot more makes things a lot more human.
Emily Yates 10:48
Yes. I agree with the general assessment that we’ve experienced that from different roles that you know, don’t realize what all the laboratory does and and how we take care of analyzers to ensure that they’re giving accurate results and the work that’s involved with that process. And I’ve always put it out, at least for our location. I’m thrilled to give absolutely anybody a tour of the lab that’s wanting to get knows more information about what’s involved with it, to try and show that perspective and everything because we all do want exactly what’s best for the patient.
You know, we’ve had where nurses think that we want to recollect babies on purpose, because we don’t want to run the test. I’ve actually experienced that myself. And that’s absolutely not the case. I love babies. Nobody wants to recollect a baby and it’s actually more work at every facility I’ve ever been at or heard about from anybody. From a tech perspective, it’s more work for us to submit and sample for recollection than it is to just run the test. And we we don’t want anybody to be stuck or restock or anything when it’s not necessary. And yeah, I think a lot of it is just knowing the intent behind You know, everybody’s working towards the same goal.
Andrew Tisser 12:02
Yeah. So I mean, that’s the underlying issue here is that everybody wants to take care of the patient. And we’re all stuck in our silos, so to speak, as the techs are trying to run their labs and the nurses are trying to take care of direct patient care and radiology is trying to do their imaging. And everyone’s kind of stuck on doing their own role. And sometimes I think it gets lost in that everyone, it does have a role in healthcare, everyone’s doing their best. And maybe you just don’t understand whatever it is about that job. I mean, I don’t know exactly how you guys run the tests at all. But I am confident that you guys are doing it correctly, because that’s what you’re trained to do.
Emily Yates 12:46
Yeah, exactly. I think a lot of it is just, it’s just understanding that we all have the same goal, appreciating the expertise and you know, realizing what you’re an expert at and what you’re not. I don’t know how diagnose patients. I don’t know how to put an IV in because I’m not a nurse, that kind of thing. But I can I can do a manual diff on your CBC all day. You know, we all have our own role.
Andrew Tisser 13:13
Out sure is a funny story. Well, it’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time. The other day I had to go for some for some blood tests for myself as an outpatient and the phlebotomist came in, and she had 27 stickers. And she said she had to draw 27 tubes, and had a basket with 27 tubes of blood. I’m like, I don’t know. You know, I know. I just worked all night, and I’m not the brightest, but I don’t think that’s right.
I was like, I don’t know anything about what you’re doing. But I really don’t think that’s true. And she’s like, Well, no, there’s 27 stickers. I got to do 27 tubes. And I was like, you know, could you call somebody and just like check. And she’s like, Oh, I guess and she called her supervisor and she came back and she was like, no, it’s six. Turns out and luckily, we could have just a discussion about it and then laugh about it afterwards. But, you know, if if someone came in there and the phlebotomist said, I gotta draw 727 tubes, and a lot of times people just be like, Okay, well, that’s what it is, right?
So, you know, I think just being able to have a simple discussion with people about maybe something you don’t think is correct. Or I know plenty of the times the lab will call me and mean asked me if I actually wanted XYZ have a test. And sometimes I do and we can have a teaching moment and sometimes I don’t, and it was just an error, but if we didn’t, then we’d be double doing double tests and sticking patients for no reason, you know?
Emily Yates 14:48
Yeah, totally, totally. We’ve had that issue as far as like, somebody ordering. creatine instead of creatine is perfect. We know that that is not a Gonna be a frequent flyer test. So we always question anything like that. But it’s also you know, when you’re talking about the number of foods that you were going to have drawn at the time, you know, you’re you’re in the medical field, and it is hard to get that level of patient involvement, so that they feel comfortable speaking up like that.
And I think it’s really important to have that really open relationship. And when you’re set, we use something called aided here. Whenever we interact with patients as far as acknowledging, introducing ourselves, explaining the duration and explanation of the test and thanking them for choosing to come to our facility. And starting off the interaction with something good, like aided a good tool to make them feel comfortable to question that stuff on a regular basis is really essential.
Andrew Tisser 15:53
So they don’t go well. They know what they do when so let’s roll with it. I mean, you got to be an advocate for yourself these days. A lot of the times, you know, this is kind of a unrelated issue, but maybe related. We’ve been seeing a lot lately of all they’re calling it burnout, but job dissatisfaction in the medical field from physicians and nurses, and really a lot a bit of everyone. And my thought on this is perhaps the miscommunication or poor communication within the team and kind of toxic work environments to that regard contribute to some of that. Do you see any of that in the lab? I know you’re not you guys are not under some of the same pressures we have in patient care. But I’m just curious.
Emily Yates 16:42
Yeah, I fully appreciate that. We don’t have those one on one patient interactions as far as life or death situations, and that’s why I chose to go into this field is to avoid those kinds of super high stress environments, but we do still have those Those burnout moments we’re actually looking at travel tech for our facility right now because we’re we’re not able to fill any of the six open tech positions that we have posted. We’re not getting applicants for it because there’s such a huge tech shortage for the US.
So the burnout is still real for us as well, just in a kind of a different mode. But I do think a lot of it stems from that communication issue. And you mentioned earlier about lab lab, different departments being in silos. And I completely agree with that. And and part of helping with that, that burnout aspect is is removing lab out of our silos and getting out into the hospital. laboratory. People traditionally are really introverted.
They want to be able to do the technical stuff, be a scientist and go on about their day, but what is really required for for good patient care and interactions and communication Waiting that burnout is to be involved in all the different department meetings and communicate well with what the physicians are needing what the nurses need, what it needs. radiology then because we still have interactions with radiology and everything, we have to get out of our silos and, and have those discussions on whenever possible. attend every meeting that you can.
Andrew Tisser 18:24
Sure. Obviously, I know that one facility I worked at had lab right in the ER and there had like two or three texts kind of station there. And some of them, you know, there’d be the phlebotomist and some of them would like it would run to the lab, but I whenever I had a question about, you know, Can I order x test or what’s Is there something going on and they’d be like, frontline right there sitting a few, you know, benches over from me and I could just have a quick chat and it was immensely helpful. Really?
Emily Yates 18:57
Yeah. Any kind of stat lab In the ED is going to be beneficial for that communication because you’re not having to wait on hold on the phone that the face to face is just so much easier. And then you get to know the people that you’re working with to have those good relationships and you know, like you can, you know, just come over real quick and be like, hey, how much longer five minutes? Okay, on a test or anything like that? Course not every lab has, or not every hospital has a stat lab. We don’t have one at our facility because we’re directly above the ER. So there’s not really a time benefit for performing testing any faster anything for us. But when it whenever there is that stat lab in a location, it’s always beneficial.
Andrew Tisser 19:45
Yeah, we don’t have one at my place now, either. But yeah, I like just having those people there. And again, sometimes just getting their their expertise on on things that you really wouldn’t know the answer to is instead of spending time administering to look it up is Oh, that’s, that’s a time saver ended up itself.
Emily Yates 20:04
Totally. And anytime we get a physician that calls to ask us a question, and not, Hey, where’s my sample? It gives us a sense of job satisfaction too. Because, you know, you know that you’re helping the patient, the physician as a direct care team with what’s going on with what they need to know. And you know, you get the Okay, yeah, they called me to ask me what, what they needed to know and everything. So that’s, that’s valuable as far as that burnout and job satisfaction as well.
Andrew Tisser 20:36
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And I do have you run into any like generational differences in regards to the physicians Do you feel like the younger Doc’s are more willing to have those conversations versus the older you know, of course, a sweeping generalization, but or Have you not seen that at all?
Emily Yates 20:53
I have experienced that course. Like me, I completely agree. It’s a it’s a very broad generalization. And there’s always exceptions to the rule. But for example, my sister, her fiance’s a physician, and he’s told me you know, whenever he goes to interact with the staff on a cert on different floors and everything like he’s told them to call him, his name is Jeremy, it just call me Jeremy. Don’t call me doctor. You know, just to have that, that level of be comfortable with me. Tell me when when we need to do something, what you’re seeing, make sure that you’re not afraid to call me because I’m not going to be upset with you for calling me about this patient. It’s always okay if you have a question and it kind of opens up that level of comfort for everybody else. And it’s really appreciated.
Andrew Tisser 21:45
Yeah, I mean, it just to be able to be people at work, I think is a huge shift in the in the hierarchy of medicine. So yeah, everyone, everyone knows that. That the physician is kind of calling In the shots, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a great working relationship. How many times has someone gone into the room and notice something I didn’t? And because we can talk to each other, they can we can figure something out for the patient and mutually benefit the patient, you know?
Emily Yates 22:15
Absolutely. Like we we know of one physician that You sure do not want to call him. Regardless if it’s a critical if it’s anything, everybody dreads calling a physician, because you’re going to get yelled at every single time. And it’s a it is a hindrance. As far as you know, I worry about people, deterring he’s probably noticed that changing a patient or something like that, because they’re, they’re hesitant about contacting him. So, anytime, anytime you have that issue with communication, you don’t want it to compromise patient care in any way.
Andrew Tisser 22:59
No, of course. It’s it’s a function of just being able to talk to each other. And being able to share your expertise. Like we’ve said before, I wonder about some of the physicians that are poor communicators. I wonder if some of that is just the, the some of the burnout we’re seeing and some people have dubbed it moral injury, that they’re unable to take care of the patients the way they want to because of the function of the system. And whereas, if you met them for coffee, they’d be the most pleasant human being in the world, but in the hospital, they’re not I don’t know. But I wonder if some of that is playing into it and pen seeping through into our poor communication?
Emily Yates 23:46
Yeah, and it very likely is because I’m the firt I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt that everybody is trying to go towards the same goal, and we need to assume that everybody is doing the same thing. For their patient as far as the intention of care and everything, but there’s always factors that play into that. And burnout is a real one.
Andrew Tisser 24:11
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a shame. We’re seeing a lot of it with the early grads too, and you know, recent recent Doc’s that are finishing their training and are very disillusioned with the current medical environment. You know, I know I know, I have colleagues that are trying to leave medicine and haven’t even been done training for five years. So, big problem, big problem we’re dealing with across the board, you know, as for some of your own staff that you say have have experienced burnout Do you think it’s it’s just volume is it just you’re you’re being forced to do more with less? What and besides of we’ve talked about communication, but do you think some of those other external pressures are part of it?
Emily Yates 24:57
Personally, I think a lot of it is the frustration with timelines associated with the needed healthcare changes and process changes that we know we have a long list of projects that we need to do. We’ve identified them we have tried to prioritize them. And we all want to fix everything in a day. And it’s just communicating where we’re at with these various projects, what we’re prioritizing why it’s being prioritized, what that impact will be. And everything is so involved with other departments and dependent on other people to complete anything that it’s turning a ship. You have to turn slowly.
Andrew Tisser 25:42
Yeah, I would do. Do you think it’s all money based or is it just there’s got so many hoops that things have to jump through and so many stamps of approval that need to be done?
Emily Yates 25:53
I don’t think it’s money based. I think everybody is is doing the absolute best that they can for To change preset perspective, there’s just so many demands. So it’s hard to get the same prioritization level from the other stakeholders in it. If maybe they they need to complete something, but they have other projects that are first on their list, that kind of thing. But everybody is just constantly chugging along with with different initiatives and committees and whatnot. It’s really overwhelming. Absolutely.
Andrew Tisser 26:31
I know, it’s a hopefully having some of these conversations will will bring some of it to light so that we can improve the working environment for all healthcare workers and not just, you know, our frontline doctors and nurses but all the all the other staff in the hospital that are are getting crushed just as much, you know, just in different ways.
Emily Yates 26:53
Yeah, everybody has their own stressors that are unique to their areas.
Andrew Tisser 27:01
Absolutely. Well, Emily, I’d like to shift the show a little bit to get to know the guest a little bit more. So, do you have any book recommendations for the listener? It could be anything.
Emily Yates 27:15
Um, I, as far as like my favorite author, I would have to go with Richard Preston. I’m a total nerd at heart. So like bio warfare kind of things and Weird Science stuff. And then for some reason, I’m really into World War two books. I don’t know why fiction. I’m reading now all the Light We Cannot See. And it’s really good. It’s really good
Andrew Tisser 27:45
Ill have to check that out.. Yeah, the whole world war two genres is. I feel like there’s so many books on that. But there’s so many really good books out.
Emily Yates 27:55
Yeah, there’s always new perspectives on it, and it’s insane to me that it even occurred. So I think it’s more of a shock of, you know, how did that happen and trying to understand it a bit more.
Andrew Tisser 28:07
And then I had a patient the other day, who he was 95 or 96. And I asked him if he was in the service. And he said, No, he was an engineer that built the fighter planes. And he said, they were putting out like, eight to 10 planes a day. Why? Yeah, it was, you know, like the story some of these guys have. He’s like, yeah, I didn’t fight but I we were all on making planes. for the war effort. I was like, Oh my God,
Emily Yates 28:38
that’s insane. I would hate to fly in one. I’m like, good, Lord. I know.
Andrew Tisser 28:45
It’s, uh, it’s crazy. But what do you what do you like to do for fun?
Emily Yates 28:53
Um, well, I have two dogs. So they’re my fur babies. Oh, hang out with them. Attend And of course my husband, you know. But yeah, I like to read and watch Netflix, go running outside and things like that. Yeah, those are pretty much my hobbies
Andrew Tisser 29:14
and work and work right. And the other thing I like to ask is if you could give physicians and other clinicians just a single piece of advice when it comes to communication, what would that be?
Emily Yates 29:32
I would have to encourage most back to that point of knowing that everybody has the same intention of good patient care and although you might not understand another person’s role, realize that there’s a reason for it there’s you might not know the why behind it but to put a bit more trust as far as the the other staff that you’re communicating with have a why behind something It’s okay to question the why, in the appropriate setting, maybe not yell over the phone about why is this the way that it is?
Reach out to the department manager and ask that question of, Hey, this is the current process, is there a way to do it differently for whatever reason? And we would absolutely love to know more how we can help physicians, as well as laboratory perspective, if it’s order set changes, if it is different testing that they would would prefer to be available, a different process for notification. I completely welcome that feedback.
Andrew Tisser 30:39
That’s great. Yeah. Well, like we said, we’re all on the same team. We’re all working together. So well, Emily, it’s been a lot of fun. If people wanted to reach out to you or say hello, or had a question about the lab, how can they find you?
Emily Yates 30:54
Um, my email, they can they be happy. I’d be happy to give My email out if they have any further questions or anything, my email is Emilyanneyates.outlook.com. And if anybody has any questions about the laboratory field I’m constantly trying to recruit, to get people to go to be Medical Laboratory scientists or medical Medical Laboratory technicians, which is a two year degree. We’re constantly trying to fill this shortage nationally. And I’d be happy to answer any questions for anybody on that.
Andrew Tisser 31:39
Great, well, that will be in the show notes for the listeners. So Emily, thank you again. It’s been a really great chat, interesting perspective. And someone we don’t really get to talk to all that much. So thank you again, and we’ll be in touch.
Emily Yates 31:54
Awesome. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Take care
Andrew Tisser 31:58
What a great show with Emily! I thought it was pretty neat that she stated that her pretty much her whole job is based on communication. Emily talks about the change in mindset from a general worker to a supervisor, and reports it as thinking about the big picture. She feels that generally hospital workers do not understand everything that the lab does.
Emily talks about how it is understanding that everyone has the same goal in mind appreciating others expertise and realizing what you’re an expert at what you’re not. She states that burnout is real for the lab, and she thinks it is contributed to by being in silos instead of working together with some of the other healthcare professionals in the hospital. Emily also talks about that when a physician calls the lab with a question. It gives them great job satisfaction and makes it feel like they’re part of the team. She points out that everyone has their own stressors that are unique to their own expertise, which I thought was very wise.
That’s all for this episode. I hope you and your family members are all staying safe in these crazy times. Please subscribe to the show, and leave an honest rating and review on Apple podcasts. It is very helpful to get the word out there. Additionally, if you are looking to work with me one on one, I’d like to talk to me about any issues that you have communication or otherwise, please visit my website at https://talk2medocpod.com/talk2me.
I’d be happy to help in any way I can. Until next time, guys. Keep talking!