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Meet the CSTM Board - Nicole Gettle

Welcome to the “Meet the CSTM Board” blog series! Each month a different position on the board will be spotlighted along with some insider information on the individual in the position. Each blog will follow a different path as each position and individual is unique. We hope you enjoy.

Author: Crystal Brunk, CSTM Director at Large (2022-2024).

Most of us know the iconic Police lyrics “I’ll be watching you”, for Nicole Gettle, current CSTM Vice President (2022-2024), these are not only words from one of the many songs in her karaoke repertoire but also represent her approach to CSTM, transfusion medicine, and life…But before you run the other way worried that Nicole is the new “big brother” and always watching, read on to learn the value that watching everything around you can bring.

The Vice President Position – “I’ll be watching… the President…”
The Vice President is basically next “on deck” for presidency, in normal circumstances the Vice President term is two years after which point one moves into the President role however “in the absence or disability of the President, [the Vice President] shall perform the duties and exercise the powers of the President” (CSTM bylaws). Thus far Nicole has done a lot of watching and shadowing of the current President from attending various committee meetings to being involved in conference planning and CSTM award management. In addition to being CSTM Vice President, Nicole is a member of the Conference Abstract committee, Education committee, and the Transfusion Safety Network – all of which has given her the opportunity to learn from other CSTM members and through observation Nicole is defining what her goals for presidency will be…I tried to get insider information on her plan but Nicole was tight lipped about this, although she did mention that she could be influenced by a good idea (or the perfect cup of tea) so consider reaching out if there is a direction you think CSTM should be heading!

Transfusion Medicine – “I’ll be watching…every move you make...”
Certain her laboratory career would be in microbiology, when Nicole started her transfusion medicine (TM) practicum it was just another thing to tick off the to-do list, that was until she met her preceptor the now infamous Donna Lee-Jones who created a passion for TM in Nicole. Nicole was quickly hooked by the critical thinking involved in TM, along with the challenges and most of all the antibody investigations. Having worked in TM at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary since 2003 Nicole has transitioned from a bench technologist to the Transfusion Safety Officer for the Calgary zone where she has developed a knack for investigating patient safety events. Nicole is able to put herself in the shoes of others and by watching what folks do in and out of the laboratory, she can look beyond those individuals to how the system and human factors played into the event leading to better solutions and prevention of future safety events. Nicole also seeks to “open the lab door” to facilitate open lines of communication between lab and clinical staff, especially when implementing change in processes “that have always been done this way.”
Advice for “…every step you take…”
  • Keep patient safety as the guiding principle in everything you do – it will make those challenging decisions easier.
  • Ask questions when you encounter something that is not straightforward – we have all been there and want to help.
  • Reach out and connect with the transfusion medicine community – a terrific way to get your feet wet is with the Transfusion Safety Network.
  • Lastly from the great Bill Murray – “whatever you do, always give 100%, unless you’re donating blood”.


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