After ten years in broadcast journalism with several Associated Press awards to show for it, Rebecca Uhrig ended up in Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio.* As a phlebotomist, that is.
“I never dreamt that I would work somewhere like this, yet I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” she told CMA Today in an interview. “These patients just want health care like everyone, and I really flourish helping them get it.”
So how did Uhrig go from journalism to taking blood samples from inmates? “Mom and pop stations are slowly being sold out to national syndicated programing, so I knew I needed to think of another field,” she explained. That field was medicine, and after graduating from a local career and technology center, she began working as a physician’s assistant. When the opportunity to work at Ross Correctional Institute came up, she went with her gut and applied.
“Some of the patients I see are escorted in shackles, and others walk right in, depending on their security risk,” says Uhrig. “Either way, I’m always professional and treat them like I would treat patients on the other side of the fence. I like that every arm is different, every skin texture is different, and every person is different. It pushes me to be the best phlebotomist I can be.”
Turns out the best she can be is pretty close to perfect. In a recent state audit, her lab passed with a perfect score in compliance and made zero errors in blood or specimen samples for six straight-months.
As an integral part of the medical team at the prison, she doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. “Although this is a far cry from my life as a journalist, it’s a place I know I can make a positive impact.”
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*Source: CMA Today
This Unitek blog post was originally published on June 12, 2013.