Patients who need blood drawn at Sonoma West Medical Center are fortunate to have the affable Yonas Woldemichael as their phlebotomist. Yonas is a clinical laboratory assistant and certified phlebotomist technician who says he enjoys his job working with in-patients, out-patients, ICU and emergency room patients at the hospital. “You get to meet new people, and sometimes they give you a different perspective, share personal wisdom, life experiences or give you advice on something you never thought of before,” he says. It helps to have a good bedside manner to get patients to open up. “The more they open up the more comfortable they are in being treated. It definitely helps to have ice-breaking skills and be a people person.”
It is Yonas’ job to send blood test results to the doctor for review and diagnosis. He also let’s doctors know if there is anything critical they should be aware of about the test samples. He also processes urine samples from across the country for the hospital’s successful toxicology program, preparing them for analysis by scientists and technicians.
Yonas, 25, is a local boy who attended a Christian school in Santa Rosa and then graduated from Piner where he participated in sports and drama. He is a 2016 graduate from Empire College and also attended Santa Rosa Junior College. He now lives in Windsor and started at SWMC in March, 2017.
There is never a dull moment in Yonas’ job and that’s the way he likes it. “There is always something new, whether it’s something breaking or a really cool case that comes in that you get to be a part of. Working in this environment makes it possible to learn new things.” He also enjoys working with his co-workers. “Everyone is on the same track and has the same mindset. Everyone is dedicated to patient care first of all, and making sure they do their job right. We also know how to have fun. In the lab we sometimes have different kinds of soft classical music or Motown playing, depending on how we’re feeling that day. We keep the atmosphere lively, but we are all professionals and know where our responsibilities lie.”
Catering to patient preferences is a big part of those responsibilities. “We respect the time when patients want their blood taken. If people don’t want to be disturbed at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning when we do our rounds, SWMC allows us to come back later. We’re flexible. It’s always patient care first. If the patient wants to wait until after breakfast or until a family member is there with them, we will respect that and come back when they ask us to.”