New pathology position aims to train and retain rural scientists

Donna Fisher and Emily Baartz at the Warwick Hospital Pathology Laboratory. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Emily Baartz, a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, has embarked on a new professional journey at the Warwick Hospital Pathology Laboratory.

Having previously worked as a Clinical Assistant at the Toowoomba Hospital Pathology Laboratory, Baartz now fills the inaugural Rural Graduate Trainee Scientist position.

“This position will train me in all aspects of the departments in the core laboratory, and once the training is complete, I can be signed off as a scientist,“ Baartz said.

Supervising Scientist Warwick Pathology Laboratory, Donna Fisher said this is the first time the Rural Graduate Trainee Scientist role has been offered in Warwick and is hopeful it will continue to be offered for years to come.

“The aim of the initiative is to train scientists rurally and keep them employed rurally,“ Fisher said.

“The position is part of our graduate program that runs every year with Pathology Queensland, graduates are normally placed in bigger labs.”

The training program covers haematology, transfusion, biochemistry, phlebotomy, microbiology, and analyser maintenance and troubleshooting.

“It’s not just lab skills Emily will be learning, there are some real benefits to completing your training at a lab and facility the size of Warwick Hospital,” Fisher said.

Reflecting on her aspirations within the role, Baartz is particularly excited about working hands-on with haematology and transfusion procedures and to engage directly with patient samples under the microscope.

The introduction of the Rural Graduate Trainee Scientist position represents a significant step forward in Pathology Queensland’s efforts to address the retention of pathology professionals in rural areas. With Baartz’s appointment as the pioneer trainee, the program sets a promising precedent for the continued cultivation of rural talent within the healthcare sector.