A workforce to be reckoned with
We see the beauty of being a community health system every day at LMH Health. Stories about our staff members are some of our favorites to tell, from being the third generation to deliver a baby at the hospital to the staff who have been here for decades, there is something special about the community helping the community.
Holly Hamilton, director of the LMH Health laboratory, joined the team almost 28 years ago, straight out of college. She was searching for available jobs and came across the LMH listing in the back of a lab professional magazine.
“I came to Lawrence from central Iowa. I graduated from the University of Iowa and there were very few available jobs for new grads at that time in Iowa City, so I decided to explore the Kansas City area,” Hamilton said. “I found a couple of other options in the Kansas City and Topeka areas, but Lawrence was the best fit for me, and so I moved and I’ve been here ever since.”
Hamilton’s bachelor’s degree was in clinical laboratory science and her first position at LMH Health was as a lab technician. She took a role working the evening shift, then moved to night shift and then eventually day shift. She then transitioned to more of an IT role in the lab, which worked well for her then-young and growing family. She made the move into the lab manager role in 2015 and in 2022, she became the director.
“I am involved in a professional group called CLMA, Clinical Laboratory Management Association, and it provides me a great way to network and get to know other people who are in my field locally. No matter the opportunity that came up, I still felt that working at LMH Health was where I was the best fit,” Hamilton said. “The size and impact we have on the community at LMH is special. If I was at a larger institution, I may not be able to make the most impact in my role, as I can right here in my community.”
She and her husband met a year after Hamilton moved to Lawrence and have both continued to work in community service fields. When the opportunity for the promotion from manager to director came about, Hamilton said it was an obvious choice that she would stay versus looking for a role elsewhere.
“The director before me, Connie Broers, was the director of the LMH Health Laboratory for 21 years,” she said. “For the last ten years, she had been mentoring me and saw me as a future leader. Had it not been for her, I think I may have gone down the IT path. Connie’s leadership, the people, the patients, the staff and seeing how you can make a direct impact in the community have kept me here.”
Hamilton says she always encourages young professionals and college students looking to go into healthcare to consider clinical laboratory science. Especially this last year with COVID, the importance of lab testing has come to the forefront. The lab can provide many different opportunities and the ability to help patients behind the scenes. It could be a great career fit for many.
Continuing to grow
As we look to our team members who have been at LMH Health for years, we also look to add new members to our team who embrace the same mission and purpose.
Sarah Scoular, systems engineer for the LMH Health IT department, came on board with the organization in late 2021. Though new to LMH Health, she is very familiar with the Lawrence area.
“I moved to Lawrence in 1999 to go to school at KU and never left,” she said. “In 2011, I went to work for Cerner in Kansas City, and one of my clients was LMH Health. I always felt drawn to live and work in the same community.”
Scoular said what made LMH Health appealing was more than being close to home. When she would come onsite, the connections she made were fantastic. She said all of the interactions she had made her want to be a part of the health system.
“Any time I would walk in the hallways, I was met with smiles and kindness,” Scoular said. “When I would host training, people were excited and open to learning. I knew it was a great health system and having visited often, I knew the people were great too.”
Since starting her role, Scoular said her favorite things have been learning the ins and outs of LMH Health and meeting with department heads to see what their needs are and how she can help. She said she continues to be impressed by how kindness doesn’t occur in one area, but in all areas of the hospital and clinics she has interacted with.
“I love that people are not afraid to share positive feedback,” Scoular said. “In the past, I have either had to ask for feedback or someone comes to me with negative feedback. Now I receive constructive feedback across the board and it’s never given rudely.”
Working in Lawrence has been gratifying, she said. She enjoys knowing the work she does every day goes back into helping the community.
“The work I do can help a clinician provide better care,” Scoular said. “I can impact patient outcomes even if I am not the one giving direct patient care. I feel like I am contributing to the health of our community just by working in it.”