The head of the UHC laboratory strives to be “part of the answer”
Lori Tinnell Finds Answers In The Tests She Performs
Lori Tinnell sees something special in science.
“Putting a suspension of an organism in a test tube, put it in a machine and make it spit out which drugs are sensitive or not… it’s magic,” she said.
Tinnell has always been interested in science. Even in high school, she knew this was what she wanted to study and pursue as a career. She grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and was particularly interested in the paramedical program at the University of Southern Alabama. After earning her bachelor’s degree in medical technology, she got a job at a nearby hospital in microbiology. A few years later, she moved to an infection prevention and control post at another hospital at the start of the HIV / AIDS epidemic.
Eventually, Tinnell decided to stay home to raise her four children. After her husband moved to a company in Athens, a friend from her first job mentioned that the University Health Center had a vacancy. She has worked at the CHU for 12 years and is in her fourth year as head of laboratory.
“It allowed me to achieve a very good work-life balance,” she said.
Tinnell said health services can be extremely siled, but CHU has made concerted efforts in recent years to be more integrated into its services. As a result, she appreciates the many opportunities she has to work with others. It also provides a more holistic picture of each patient.
The behind-the-scenes aspect of laboratory work appeals to Tinnell. She still finds her evolution fascinating, especially how tests that used to take her two days can now be completed in 45 minutes. The key is knowing the right resources to use to find what is needed and keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry. Additionally, Tinnell appreciates the “teachable moments” that UHC naturally offers, both to educate students about healthcare systems and to engage students in his lab.
“I can be part of the answer, but not in the spotlight,” she said. “Being part of the response has always been rewarding. “
In addition to overseeing the lab, Tinnell keeps abreast of all of her certifications to perform the tests herself. But his day can include everything from human resources and IT to maintenance and purchasing.
“For people working in the lab, I try to make their working life as smooth as possible, and we also try to make the patient’s lab experience as smooth as possible,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some aspects of Tinnell’s role changed. Her lab took on more responsibility, including symptomatic testing for COVID-19, and she had to be creative with her resources.
“UGA has been extremely responsive to absolutely everything that I have requested in the quickest manner possible,” she said. “I tried to be a good steward of what I asked for. They were all very pleasant to work with and very helpful.
Tinnell still enjoys problem solving and troubleshooting the lab technologist job, but what she enjoys most about her job is the relationships.
“It’s important that you have a relationship with your colleagues in every department, providers and even other places on campus, and that students get a glimpse of how we benefit them by being here,” he said. she declared.
However, there is one item left on this lab manager’s professional bucket list. Specifically, she would like to visit some of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs. Personally, she hopes to take more trips.
Outside of work, Tinnell spends as much time as possible with his family, especially in stadiums watching college football. She also likes to restore furniture when she has time.
But in his lab, Tinnell said it was all about integrity.
“We give the best of ourselves,” she said. “This is the way labs work: they have to be real, they have to be well done and they have to be consistent, and I think that’s my personality too. “