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From the Editor's Desk

Never underestimate the power of a rubber chicken

by Dennis Ernst • September 07, 2020

Editor's Desk

Marie Moorhouse and friend


Marie Moorhouse is one of the most dynamic and delightful people I've ever met, not just in my professional circles, but in life. I first met Marie in 2015 when she came to our Phlebotomy Supervisor's Boot Camp in Charlotte, North Carolina. When she walked into the room, we had no idea how much energy and hilarity she would bring to the 3-day event. Having produced seven Boot Camps across the U.S. by then, they were becoming rather routine. Not that we don't like routine, we do. In fact we vastly prefer it to drama or chaos, both of which we've had plenty at prior Boot Camps.

It soon became obvious that Marie was a real spitfire, packed with spunk, sparkle and sass. Between sessions, during round tables, and at the Q&A sessions she had everyone busting up, most of all, my wife Catherine and I. Marie brought just the right blend of levity and professional passion to the conference that made her presence a Godsend for all. We know the event would have been smashing success without her, we had gotten pretty good at producing a satisfying event for our attendees, but with her it was so much more.

Prior to the Charlotte event, Catherine and I decided we were going to start a new Boot Camp Tradition. The Rubber Chicken Award would be presented at closing of the event to the attendee who made it the most fun for us. Marie was without question the first recipient. It would not be the last time she made a difference for me and for the phlebotomy community... including you.

As you know, I have been trying to revise our popular Preventing Preanalytical Errors video for at least two years. What you don't know is that I've run into nothing but obstacles from the get-go. It's as if I had embarked upon something that refused to happen. In fact, a more fitting title would be The Video That Does Not Want To Be Made. By the time filming finally started in February at Covenant in Saginaw, Michigan it should have already been completed and streaming. But over the years I've learn that everything takes longer than you think it should. If it's a video, plan on it taking even longer.

We filmed in the laboratory at Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw, Michigan (ironically and appropriately the same facility at which I completed my medical technology internship many years ago). It took a full day to capture sample handling closeups and some pretty good footage in outpatient and inpatient environments. But our Applied Phlebotomy videos are complex, requiring multiple days of filming narrations and simulations, and reshooting scenes that didn't meet my standards of perfection from the first day. A second day of filming was planned for March. Then along came Covid-19, locking me and my film crew out of any and every healthcare setting... understandably so. Every month or so I'd check in to see if filming could resume. It couldn't. The delay in returning to the facility seemed indefinite.

Marie & me on filming day

I'm a firm believer that if you keep banging on a door that won't open, you should stop banging and move along to a door that will. That's how I felt in July when nothing was working out. Maybe the video wasn't meant to be revised. Maybe it's time to work on something else. Something easier. I had no location, no narrator, and my film crew had a limited geographic circumference in which they could now work. Then I thought of Marie.

Like a thunderbolt, it struck me that she worked her magic at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, just four hours away. I had nothing to lose, so I reached out. It was a long shot, for sure. Covid still had its grip on the nation, and especially Michigan. What it was going to take to get this video back into production was something I didn't have. It required someone with spitfire, someone with award-winning spunk. someone who can make things happen. It required Marie Moorhouse.

And just like that, the door opened. Marie arranged for us to complete our filming in July, and the 3rd edition of Preventing Preanalytical Errors is now in the final phase of production. It should be available to you and other healthcare professionals and educators around the world sometime in November.

It's no coincidence Marie came to Charlotte in 2015. Our paths were destined to cross, and for good reason. Namely, so that those who draw, handle, process and transport blood samples for diagnostic testing around the world can do so properly, safely, and in a manner that assures all their patients are treated according to accurate laboratory results.

Marie will be the first to tell you her path to becoming the Lead Training Specialist over the phlebotomy services at one of the nation's most prestigious healthcare systems was predestined, but not what she had planned. Nor did she plan on coming home from Charlotte in 2015 with a rubber chicken, the power of which is not to be underestimated.

Take care, my friend,


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