Before there was a pandemic, health care was the same ever-evolving passion for Jayne Ellenwood.

“There’s always something new that pops up,” said Ellenwood, the lab client services manager for Bryan Health.

But Ellenwood, 31, will likely never see anything in her career to match COVID-19, which within days changed the nature of her job.

Ellenwood, a native of Hastings, wife and mother of two children, spoke with the Journal Star about her work outside the new On-Demand Lab at Bryan Pine Lake Campus.

What’s a typical day like?

Every day I come in I evaluate our patient volumes, our patient population types, evaluate staffing to make sure that we’re able to keep up with the demand of morning labs. After that, I move on to my projects and check in here at the service center, check on any service disruptions like supply chain issues and follow up with anything else.

How did the pandemic change things?

I went from maintaining and maybe improving routine services to taking the lead on bringing in testing for COVID. It was something that had to be developed, and we were in a race to have that available for our patients.

(As the pandemic progressed, Bryan implemented on-demand testing at its Pine Lake Campus for people who needed to return to work because they had been exposed or for people who needed to travel.)

What challenges does the pandemic continue to present?

Not a lot of people know about laboratory medicine and the role we play in patient care, and the pandemic really escalated the workforce shortage. Hoping to get people to come and work when there’s such a spotlight on how hard working in health care can be is difficult.

With so much news about workforce shortages, what inspires you to keep at it?

It’s been hard these last couple years, but I think back to what brought me to health care. I always knew that I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and in their treatment. It fills my bucket to be a part of our response to the community. The projects where I can walk away and know that we made a difference, that’s what keeps me going.

What gives you satisfaction at the end of a shift?

I don’t typically have one-on-one patient interaction, but nothing makes me more proud of my team and my role than when I get positive feedback and they call out specific team members.

By Percy