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Bieler takes over as manager at Syringa lab

After 15 years as a medical technologist at Syringa Hospital Laboratory, Hannah Bieler is now the manager.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
After 15 years as a medical technologist at Syringa Hospital Laboratory, Hannah Bieler is now the manager.

— A new manager has taken the helm at Syringa Hospital lab, but she’s a familiar face. Hannah Bieler has replaced Dave Ceniza who moved out of the area.

“I’m really excited to take this on and I am already learning so much,” Bieler said.

Born in Portland, Ore., and raised in Montana, Bieler attended Montana State University where she obtained a bachelor of science degree in microbiology.

“I graduated in 1995 then stayed home a couple years with my two oldest daughters,” she said.

She said she really could not find a job with the education she had and made the decision to go back to school to become a medical technologist. She packed up the girls and moved to Minot, N.D., to medical technologist school.

“It was my first time away from my family and kind of being on my own,” she recalled. “It was an 11-month program and it ended up being a really great experience.”

She returned to Montana where she worked for a year and then discovered the lab opening in Grangeville.

Syringa makes switch from Red Cross to Inland Northwest Blood Center

GRANGEVILLE – Aside from a new manager position, Syringa Hospital Laboratory’s Hannah Bieler has a big change under way.

Syringa and Inland Northwest Blood Center recently announced their partnership. INBC is now Syringa’s blood supplier, a job formerly held by the American Red Cross.

“There is absolutely no animosity with the Red Cross,” Bieler emphasized. “They have been wonderful to work with.”

Bieler explained INBC is a community-based blood center committed to providing quality products and services to more than 35 hospitals and clinics throughout the Inland Northwest.

“Regionally, nearly all the hospitals work with INBC,” she said. “We are probably the only hospital that has still been with the Red Cross. This switchover will allow for better continuity of care.”

An example, she said, is St. Mary’s uses INBC. If Syringa runs low on a blood product, they can now trade with St. Mary’s in an emergency. Also, if a Red Cross blood product from Syringa was sent in an emergency vehicle (ambulance, helicopter, plane) with a patient, the receiving hospital using INBC could not use that product.

“It would just have to be thrown away,” Bieler explained. “This way, we are compatible, and that blood can be used if needed or it could be saved if it is not utilized in transport.”

Blood donated at INBC is used in the local communities. INBC needs at least 200 donors per day to meet the needs of local hospitals.

INBC also offers additional services such as transfusion service support and testing for hospitals, an HLA Laboratory, is member of the Therapeutic Nurses and the Blood Center Foundation of the Inland Northwest (BCFIN), which serves as the fund-raising and granting arm of INBC.

Through its foundation, INBC is able to give back to the communities it serves through more than blood: it is also able to provide grants to help support education, further technology and fund research in various medical arenas associated with blood transfusion.

“I had a friend whose son lives here [smokejumper Chris Young] and he said it was a great place to live,” Bieler said. “He was right.”

That was in 2001, and 15 years later, she is now heading the lab.

Bieler draws blood, but she also completes a variety of other laboratory tests and assessments.

“I really enjoy that science, biology aspect of the job,” she said. “Of course I also love the people I get to meet.”

Bieler said she works with “the greatest” team. This includes five employees.

“We are very cohesive and just work so well together,” she said.

Bieler said health care providers use the lab and its testings for up to 70 percent of their diagnoses.

“So the lab is a very important part of the hospital,” she said.

The new position allows Bieler to work on policies and procedures, help produce a department budget, implement quality control and identify goals for the lab as the hospital works on its strategic plan. She also works closely in a partnership with Pathologists Reginal Lab in Lewiston where tests the Syringa lab does not complete are sent. Some specialized lab work is also sent to Seattle.

The Syringa lab also works with the St. Mary’s Hospital lab and they help each other out in times of need.

“If we have something they need, or they need a hand, we can help each other. It’s all about patient care and what’s best for our patients,” she said.

Bieler said she enjoys working for Syringa and hopes to grow and learn more in her new position as lab manager.

“I really love what I do and am excited for the future,” she said.

Bieler has three daughters: Audrey, 21, is in her first year of the pharmacy program at Montana State; Faith, 20, is currently in school part-time in Montana, hoping to establish residency and go into a radiology program; and Ava, 13, is a seventh grade student at Sts. Peter and Paul School.


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