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The Role of Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technologists (CLXT) at Yukon Hospitals

The Role of Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technologists (CLXT) at Yukon Hospitals

At Yukon Hospitals, a unique role is helping address healthcare shortages and expanding the professional scope of healthcare providers: the Combined Medical Laboratory and X-ray Technologists (CLXT).

CLXTs are trained professionals skilled in performing various diagnostic laboratory tests and X-rays, as advised by physicians. They handle tasks from collecting blood, body fluids, tissues, urine and other samples for analysis in the laboratory to conducting X-ray imaging.

In 2021, Yukon Hospitals was pleased to hire two CLXT positions for the first time at Whitehorse General Hospital. Brianna and Erin, both NAIT-graduates, share their journey and experience in this unique role. Erin came to WGH for the first time in 2020 to fulfill her 10-month practicum. She knew right away that she wouldn’t want to leave the Yukon.

“I liked the idea of learning two modalities at once — tying the laboratory side to the imaging side,” says Erin. “It helped me to understand more of the patient’s journey.”

Brianna says the multi-faceted nature of the work as a CLXT has always appealed to her.

“Every day is different. You’re bouncing back and forth between departments, taking blood, testing blood, then doing x-rays. You get a lot of variety in the work,” Brianna explains.

Growing up in a small town in northern Alberta, Brianna learned about the position from a family friend who worked at the local hospital. She was able to shadow the CLXT for several years, as a high school student, and decided to pursue training as both an X-Ray Technologist and a CLXT. “I really like how everything connects,” she says. “I think doing laboratory work makes me a better x-ray technologist and doing x-ray makes me a better lab technologist.”

Currently, Yukon Hospital Corporation employs four CLXTs, two in Whitehorse and one at Watson Lake and Dawson City. This role is becoming more common across smaller hospitals in Canada, especially as the shortage of healthcare professionals is felt nationwide.

"In bigger centers, CLXTs are still not very common," Brianna notes. "But they're ideal in rural and remote settings because you can be one person covering both departments.”

She and Erin work together to share both lab and imaging responsibilities and they’ve both been able to continue taking courses as an extension to their certifications. Erin completed the Transfusion Medicine course, which enables her to do transfusion medicine testing within the lab and Brianna completed the CT course which certifies her to do full scope CT scanning within Medical Imaging.

This dual functionality not only enhances the efficiency of healthcare delivery but also ensures that communities have access to essential diagnostic services, crucial for comprehensive patient care.