James Pearce is a medical laboratory technologist in the clinical chemistry and immunology laboratory at Hamilton General Hospital. He has been with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for over 30 years.
What do you do?
I analyze patient samples including urine, plasma, whole blood and various other fluids for the presence of hormones, drugs of abuse, therapeutic drugs, metals and other elements, antibodies and various proteins.
What do you love about your job?
Over the years, my role as a technologist has changed. I began my career in the blood bank, now known as transfusion medicine. The most gratifying part of that job was supplying blood products for trauma patients coming in through the emergency department then to the operating room and intensive care unit. I knew then I played a significant role in saving that person’s life.
Later, I worked in hematology where I spent lots of time looking down a microscope at blood smears. Identifying various diseases was quite rewarding. I also collected peripheral blood samples from inpatients. Patients are always top of mind. I tried to make the venipunctures—the collection of blood from a vein—as pain free as possible and hopefully get the patient to smile.
Now that I am in clinical chemistry, working on somewhat more obscure testing, the reward comes from accurately and efficiently completing large numbers of tests.
“I knew then I played a significant role in saving that person’s life.”
Who inspires you?
Several of my colleagues work well into their 60s, sometimes beyond. I’m inspired by their love of lab work.
I used to have the mindset of working only up to my early retirement age. Since I started working in clinical chemistry, I have a regular routine and work with great people every day. Now, I’m part of that group of people who loves their work so much that I hope to be like my older colleagues who work beyond the typical retirement age.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not trying to blow our own horn, but we have an extremely in depth understanding of medicine. When we have conversations about health and medicine with people outside HHS, the amount of medical knowledge my colleagues and I have amazes them.
What do you hope to accomplish while at HHS?
I hope to finish my career with the proud knowledge I did the best I could. That I helped many patients recover, taught students and possibly motivated others to do the same.