Day in the life of a drug and alcohol sample collector

Kim Bagley

Kim Bagley

on Aug 19, 2022

At Cansford Laboratories, the role of our sample collectors is integral to our testing processes. Having trusted collectors who can put our donors at ease whilst accurately and efficiently taking a sample is something we pride ourselves on.

Meet Jane Tickle - North West of England

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Our collectors, who are all fully DBS checked, work closely with family lawyers and social workers to make the collection process run to schedule and run smoothly, to support cases. Here we speak to one of our long serving collectors, Jane Tickle (pictured).

What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am a sample collector of hair and blood for drug and alcohol testing on behalf of Cansford Laboratories. I work with family lawyers and social workers to support their cases, ensuring the sample collection process is carried out quickly, efficiently and minimising any distress for the donors.

My day starts with getting collection equipment for the day. Collections are typically organised between 9-5 during the week and are allocated to collectors who are closest to the donor. Sometimes we travel outside of our area, but I enjoy getting out and seeing different places so happily travel to where I’m needed.

Home collections to make life easier for donors

Pre-pandemic we did most of our collections at the legal practice, but as many offices adopted remote working, we started collecting in households and have continued to do so. We find that donors are more relaxed in their own home than in the formal setting, which makes our role easier.

When I arrive at a donor’s home I check their identification, to ensure I am collecting from the right person. I then explain the process, how I will take the sample, where I will take it from and what will happen to the sample when I leave. We have care guides which can help explain the process before and during the appointments to help put people at ease.

Their most common concern is the amount of hair that is needed for the test. Fortunately, I can easily put their minds at rest as we require less hair than any other testing company, so cosmetically it is not noticeable. I then set up the sample equipment and take the sample. Collecting a hair sample takes on average 15 minutes and collecting a hair and blood sample usually takes half an hour.

You’d be surprised at how many people have a fear of needles. That’s where a calm and reassuring disposition comes in handy. I talk to the donor and try to take their mind off it and put them at ease.

How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?

I’ve been a collector for Cansford for over 20 years. I have a scientific background and prior to this role worked at Unilever and then in a private medical laboratory carrying out drug and alcohol testing for workplace and the courts. Around ten years ago I undertook my phlebotomy training to add to my skills.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Now we are taking samples at the client’s homes we also play a role in safeguarding. It doesn’t happen often but we may witness issues within the more informal domestic setting that need to be reported to social workers or lawyers. All Cansford collectors have safeguarding training, covering legislation and principles and also on how to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect, how to report it and what to do in the event of a safeguarding incident.

 What motivates you?

Knowing how important these tests are to peoples’ lives, especially in child custody cases. The collection has to be done in the correct way following strict chain of custody procedures and with precision, which ensures that the samples come from the right people and have not been tampered with.

 What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?

If you are organised, a good communicator, patient, enjoy working with people and aren’t squeamish, I’d say you’ll get a lot out of being a collector.

 What do you enjoy about working for Cansford?

The staff are all so friendly and efficient and they are always on hand if I need any extra help or advice. Their customer service is excellent, and their collection appointment procedures work so well.

Being able to confidently guarantee to the donor they will get their results within three working days is definitely a major positive and I feel comfortable in assuring the donors they will not be let down by Cansford. I am proud to work for Cansford in the knowledge the donors will be satisfied with their experience from start to finish.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

I enjoy a range of crafts including sewing, knitting and crocheting. I also meet up with friends every week for a quilting afternoon with chat, coffee and cake. I read a lot and my five grandchildren, who are aged one to 10, keep me very busy. My husband and I also have a camper van and we love to get away in that when time allows.

We hope you've enjoyed reading this article. If you have any queries or questions, then please do get in touch. Likewise, if you are looking to undertake a drug and or, alcohol test then please contact us on the button below.

If you need a drug or alcohol test you can get a quote from Cansford by clicking this button

Kim Bagley

Kim Bagley

Kim is the Managing Director and Quality Manager at Cansford. She has various management qualifications, including 10 Years+ experience of drug testing. Kim also has 30 years experience in process management and NVQ Customer Services.

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