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EIRMC Employee Retiring After Fifty-Five Year Career

Published online: Jun 17, 2024 Health & Wellness
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Keila Poulsen, Hematology and Histology Supervisor, is retiring after 55 years of service to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC). She is the longest tenured employee at EIRMC, as well as in the HCA Healthcare Mountain Division of eleven hospitals.  

‌Keila is considered a subject matter expert on hematology.‌ She has served as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University teaching the acute leukemias; is the co-author of several hematology books, including Anderson’s Atlas of Hematology; and has been involved with her professional organization, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), since 1969. Keila has held leadership positions on the state, regional and national level with ASCLS, and has presented workshops across the nation covering every imaginable corner of hematology. Attendees flocked to her seminars, eager to learn from the person who literally wrote the book. 

Hematology was very different back in 1969 when Keila graduated from Brigham Young University and began her career. But Keila has a strong love for the profession and an insatiable appetite for knowledge.  She is constantly learning and growing, and has stayed current and informed about the myriad of changes that have evolved over the years. 

‌Keila recalls the first leukemia she came across early in her career. As she was scanning the slide, Keila noticed that some of the cells seemed to be immature, which may indicate some type of malignancy. She took the slide back to the pathologist and asked him to take a look at the slide.  

‌Before he even looked at the slide, he asked this young trembling employee, “So what do you think is wrong with this patient?” Keila stood there in stunned surprise and finally admitted that she did not know.  

‌Determined to never be put in the same awkward position again, Keila made sure she had an idea about what was going on prior to consulting pathologists. Because of her drive and determination, Keila became a valuable resource that the pathologists have relied on and consulted with over the course of her career.

Her dedication to serving her colleagues is also admirable. Many weekends, she has come to work to assist staff by reading differentials during morning run, diagnosing a new leukemia or taking phone calls about difficult coagulation concerns.  In 1998, Keila was recognized with EIRMC's highest employee honor, the Frist Humanitarian Award, for service to her colleagues and community. She tells the story of coming to work in the midst of a severe storm and tornado to check on her department.

‌Keila grew up on a mink ranch her father owned.  The work was constant and not very glamorous. She worked alongside her grandmother each day pinning mink skins to boards. Her grandma was not very talkative and liked to work in silence. To keep her mind occupied, Keila would memorize poems.  But because her hands were occupied, Keila could not hold the book, so she would glance at a single line and commit it to memory.  These exercises as a child inspired her lifelong desire for learning, and an incredible ability to retain information. 

Keila has been married to her husband Dennis for 54 years. They have two sons and 10 wonderful grandchildren. 

Keila's 55-year career has given her a unique perspective about challenges and changes. She has learned to adapt and adopt. This trait has allowed her to maintain a vital role in the operations of this hospital and our lab. Keila has built a strong foundation of leadership, quality patient care and personal excellence.  

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