National Pathology Week: Joanne Sharples – Cellular Pathology Manager

National Pathology Week is the annual celebration of pathology an opportunity to highlight the important contribution pathologists make to healthcare. Throughout this week we have been showcasing some of the individuals who make up our pathology teams at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

Joanne Sharples – Cellular Pathology Manager

What does your role involve?
In my role as Cellular Pathology Manager I oversee Histology, Cytology and the Mortuary and Bereavement office. I am a HCPC registered Biomedical Scientist, I trained here in Blackpool whilst on placement from my undergraduate degree and have stayed here ever since! Now my role is more management based than laboratory based, which I’m a bit disappointed about to be honest given we have this amazing new facility to work in!

How important is the role that pathology plays in the NHS?
Massively important. Pathology is involved in over 70% of diagnoses in the NHS. Most patients in will have tests that involve Pathology during their time in hospital. The results of which contribute to making their diagnosis and forming a treatment plan.

In Histology and Cytology we examine cells in tissues and fluids to identify diseases such as cancer. Our departments are key in the cancer diagnostic pathway and our Consultant Histopathologists have a key role in cancer MDTs.

Why did you choose pathology as your career route?
I just kind of did it! I always wanted to do something science based, I did my degree in Biomedical Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, however at the time didn’t really think about what career it would lead onto. It was only when I took a placement year as part of my degree course that I fully became aware of the career opportunities in Biomedical Science. My placement was here at Blackpool, my hometown, and I’ve never moved away since!

How does it feel to work in an organisation which has probably had quite a big impact on your family for generations?
It is important to me to work somewhere that looks after the patients that include my family and friends. It’s a really proud achievement on a personal level to see the developments in Pathology at the Trust, knowing how that can impact families who have had people diagnosed with cancer. It’s even more of a reason to strive for more improvements and developments as I know these will benefit people I know.

The fact that we are now able to deliver our service in a state-of-the-art laboratory is just brilliant! I am so proud of everyone that has played a part in this new development, and I am so pleased for the staff that have the opportunity to work in this new lab. It is a huge morale boost for the team, and it is what they all deserve for working so incredibly hard.

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