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After an Extensive KSB Career, Arlene Harper Looks Forward to Retirement

Although Arlene held several job experiences before her healthcare career, she was always fascinated with science. While working in the UW-Madison Hospital Dietary Department one summer, seeing the Lab sparked her interest in the field –and the rest was history.

After graduating from the Medical Institute of Minnesota, Arlene finished her internship at CGH and began work at KSB on May 1, 1978. “I worked in the main Lab and in what was then called the Medical Arts Clinic Lab as a Generalist,” recalls Harper. “As an ASCP Certified Lab Tech, I worked primarily in Hematology, Coagulation, Urinalysis, and the Blood Bank. In the beginning, I helped write procedure manuals for Hematology and Urinalysis. I was the Lab Safety Officer for several years and attended Monthly Safety Committee meetings. I served on the Child Care Committee, trained students and new employees on phlebotomy and lab testing, assisted Oncologists with Bone Marrow Exams, and provided supervisory result reviews for Hematology and the Blood Bank. I’ve enjoyed being a Bench Tech doing hands-on and microscopic exams, identifying abnormal cells on the manual differentials, and interviewing new employees applying for this job.”

Arlene has seen different methodologies and instrumentations over the years, including several Lab remodels, testing changes, and going from paper to computer systems. “I’ve witnessed several CEOs and Pathologists, Lab Directors and department Supervisors,” adds Harper. “We have a Phlebotomy Team now, so I miss the patient contact face-to-face correlation with results and their health progress, but I don’t miss being on call!”

“It’s been an honor to work with Arlene and benefit from her experience,” says Karen Mackey, Lab Director. “Working alongside her in hematology, I always knew I could depend on her help and insight.”

In retirement, Arlene looks forward to spending more time with her daughter and granddaughter, traveling to Alaska and Hawaii to visit family, and not getting up so early! She looks forward to continuing as Chairperson of the United Methodist Church Women Circle, working with Dixon’s Action for Better Tomorrow (ABT) group, and running her Mary Kay Skin Care Consultant business.  She is also looking forward to getting married since her engagement in 2021 to Tom Cartwright.

“I will miss working with my Lab team,” says Harper. “They are the best! My best advice to incoming Lab Techs? Find your niche and stick with it!”