Essential worker Kathy Fauntleroy, COVID tester and devoted and hopeful
Olayemi Odesanya | 5/14/2020, midnight
“If I had the opportunity to change my profession, I would be a journalist. This is no lie,” Fauntleroy laughed.
For 34 years Kathy Fauntleroy has been a Clinical Microbiology Supervisor Laboratory Technologist. Currently, Fauntleroy works at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery. Fauntleroy enlightens us on some of the challenges she faces with her profession, “It’s really challenging for technologists to be trained and working the super long shifts. The media in all platforms discuss the importance of getting tested. But people never realized how much it takes to get tested. It’s very important to have people who are trained and proficient to give test in all the ways. Luckily I have a very good team of very bright technologists to work with and the laboratory administration has been very supportive.”
Fauntleroy advised people to take the antibody test. “It is important to know your status and see if you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. There is so much we don’t know about the virus, it’s not known if we could be re-exposed, we don’t know if you can get it again if you have been exposed to it already. But, with that said, if you find out from the antibody test that you haven’t been exposed, you should be especially diligent in your hand washing, social distancing and mask-wearing practices to keep yourself healthy. As we now know, not everyone gets a mild case at this point.”
Fauntleroy expressed that as a frontier employee, she is protected. When conducting the test, they use personal protective equipment (PPE). If they are not, then they cannot actively handle samples. Fauntleroy also advocates for people to be educated on the ways they should protect themselves from the COVID-19. There are numerous health care agencies such as the CDC and the NY State Department of Health who have very informative websites. “The CDC website is especially informative and lists the symptoms of COVID-19 and all the things you can do to avoid COVID-19. Also, use your smart phone to get the updates from the city about COVID. But the single most important thing that you can do is to WASH YOUR HANDS!!! Be sure to disinfect every surface in your home like door knobs, the refrigerator door handle etc. Also, change your toothbrush on a regular basis and perhaps a bit more frequently throughout this pandemic.”
Fauntleroy tells us that sleeping is important and that we should practice eating healthy. Smoking and drinking excessively puts you at risk and can compromise your immune system.
Fauntleroy advised youths to consider studying to be a clinical laboratory technologist if they want to work in the medical field, “Understand that you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to make a difference. You can be a clinical laboratory technologist and do things like food microbiology or even work for a cosmetic company,” she continued.
“Learn as much as you can and do not be afraid to work hard. Volunteer at a hospital and see what goes on in an average day. You can serve your community and see what you might want to pursue all at the same time. Do your research also. Now with all of the information available on the internet, there is no excuse to not know.”
Fauntleroy mentioned that youth should do well in school and go to tutoring sessions, “I would also say do your best to get good grades in school. I wasn’t the best math student, but I kept at it and I survived. But my other grades were good so I was able to offset those less than stellar math grades. Don’t be afraid to get help, and don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS.”