She’s been tak­ing blood for 40+ years

South Taranaki Star - - STARS PAST - JANE MATTHEWS

When Deb­bie Wish­nowsky was 16 years old she gave in to her mother’s nag­ging and ap­plied for a job at Ha¯ wera Hospi­tal.

And now, af­ter more than 40 years, she’s clos­ing the door on her med­i­cal ca­reer.

Wish­nowsky is a qual­i­fied phle­botomy tech­ni­cian and has car­ried out blood tests and taken spec­i­mens for 41 years.

‘‘There’s been times, like with every job, that you think you’d like to do some­thing dif­fer­ent but then it’s just like such sec­ond na­ture now,’’ she said.

‘‘I don’t do it with my eyes shut, but you just do it au­to­mat­i­cally.’’

For 18 years Wish­nowsky worked in the hospi­tal lab­o­ra­tory.

She said it was very ‘‘hands on’’ and re­quired a lot of over­time and be­ing on call.

In 1994 she ap­plied for the job at Taranaki Med Lab in­side what is now known as Mountview Med­i­cal in Ha¯ wera, and had been there ever since.

The cen­tre took blood from 50 peo­ple a day on-av­er­age and Wish­nowsky said she had a lot of re­cur­ring pa­tients.

‘‘The other day a lady found out that I was leav­ing,’’ Wish­nowsky said.

‘‘She said ‘oh I re­mem­ber when I was preg­nant and I had to come in every week and have bloods, of­ten you took my blood’ - her child is now 17.’’

Wish­nowsky is not sad she’s leav­ing, but knows there are peo­ple who will be dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘If you’ve got nor­mal veins it’s no big deal - you come in, you have a nee­dle in your arm and it’s over and done with,’’ she said.

‘‘But for peo­ple who have dif­fi­cult veins it is a much more trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I have a few peo­ple who want to put me on their speed dial so that if they end up hav­ing to go to hospi­tal in the am­bu­lance they can ring me next so that I can meet them there.’’

Luck­ily for Wish­nowsky she doesn’t have a fear of nee­dles or blood, but gets a reg­u­lar re­minder of the feel­ing.

‘‘They make us have a blood test reg­u­larly so we don’t lose touch of what it’s like.’’

Bak­ing, gar­den­ing and ‘‘nor­mal stuff’’ are on the cards for Wish­nowsky, who will now fo­cus on of­fice work for her and her hus­band’s busi­ness.

She was al­ready do­ing the of­fice work and felt like she al­most had two jobs.

‘‘Some­thing had to give and I de­cided that it was my time [at Med Lab].’’

JANE MATTHEWS/ STUFF

Deb­bie Wish­nowsky has been tak­ing peo­ple’s blood in Ha¯ wera for 41 years.

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