You may never see the laboratory at Iredell Memorial Hospital but the work done in the lab is crucial to the care of every patient. For 18 years, Barbara Suddreth has helped the lab to maintain the highest standards of quality in order to provide accurate and timely test results. This month, she will retire from the role after 18 years at Iredell Memorial.
Suddreth always loved science and began her career in nursing. She later transitioned into laboratory medicine and in 1999, accepted the position of laboratory director at Iredell Memorial.
"You know about what's going on with patients through laboratory results," said Suddreth. "That allows you to recognize what you are doing to contribute to patient care."
The Iredell Memorial Laboratory processes more than 300,000 samples every year, each revealing information about patients' health and helping doctors to make accurate diagnoses. It serves as an important resource for the hospital and members of the community.
"We do a lot of direct work with the emergency department, responding to their needs," said Suddreth. "We work a lot with employee, corporate and community health and wellness as well as with firefighters in the Iredell County area."
Iredell Memorial's laboratory is fully accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. By consistently meeting the high standards of the CAP, the laboratory has held accreditation for more than 30 years. Suddreth also has championed new technology which has helped the lab run more efficiently.
"Our staff is really superb," said Suddreth. "We have upgraded instrumentation through the years and we have very efficient processes that occur in the lab. Those processes allow us to get a high volume of test results released rapidly and accurately to help support and guide patient treatment and care."
As she transitions into retirement, Suddreth hopes more young people will consider a career in laboratory sciences. She also says she's grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her colleagues at Iredell Memorial.
"When I came here to interview I was impressed at how much people smiled," said Suddreth. "That kind of community atmosphere still exists."