By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, October 2019
Shannon Schneider was always interested in the medical field.
However, she hadn’t planned on becoming a phlebotomist until a little help from her sister pushed her in that direction.
Schneider is now the lead phlebotomist in the Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) laboratory. But 15 years ago, she had left the medical field and her former position as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and was focusing on raising her children. That’s when Schneider’s sister told her about an open phlebotomist position at CCH.
“When my son was 2, my sister who was a RN here at the hospital, called me and told me about an opening in the lab for a phlebotomist,” Schneider said. “Although I really didn’t know what that was, my sister pushed me to apply because she knew how much I missed my patients when I was a CNA.”
Schneider applied, got the job and started working at CCH in June 2004.
In her current role as lead phlebotomist, Schneider draws blood from patients, processes specimens for the reference lab, processes surgery samples, does the scheduling for the phlebotomy department, trains all new employees in the phlebotomy department and in general, helps all of CCH’s phlebotomists provide high-quality patient care.
Though the job is demanding, Schneider said she really enjoys it.
The position is a good fit for Schneider who has wanted to work in the medical field since she was a child. Growing up, Schneider had spent most of her young life in and out of hospitals fighting ulcerative colitis and the experience inspired her to want to help patients too.
After she graduated high school, Schneider immediately got married and started her family.
“College was a bit of a challenge with being so young and having children,” she said. “My husband and I own a moving company so I just decided to put college on hold. I did decide to get my CNA a few years later because I really wanted to do some type of work with patients.”
After working as a CNA, Schneider had complications with her second pregnancy and her daughter was very ill and passed away after she was born.
“That in turn, made me stay home with my third child after he was born so I would not have to take him to daycare,” Schneider said. “At that point in life I left the medical field.”
Roughly two years later, Schneider’s sister told her about the phlebotomist position at the hospital and Schneider decided it would be a good fit.
“I knew I wanted to work with patients again in the medical field but knew I had too many things in my way for more school at the time. Knowing the hospital had an extensive training program on the job pushed me to apply and here I am,” Schneider said.
In addition to the extensive training program Schneider received on the job, she said CCH has also supported her by allowing her to go to phlebotomy conferences around the world every two years to learn the new laws and regulations that pertain to phlebotomy.
She said the hospital leadership also give her “all of the tools and equipment needed to do my job to the best of my ability every day.”
Though Schneider hadn’t planned on a career as a phlebotomist, she’s glad that’s where she ended up. She encourages other people interested in a career in health care to look for opportunities they might not have considered before, just like she did.
“Sometimes you have to take a leap and try something new to know what it is that will make you happy,” she said.
For more information about Schneider and the variety of career opportunities at CCH, visit http://www.columbushosp.org.