Honoring a lab legend: 50 years of committed care

Keila Poulsen standing next to lab equipment

While the world celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 and its historic journey to the moon this week, HCA Healthcare recognized a golden milestone of its own.

Keila Poulsen recently marked 50 years with HCA Healthcare and its affiliate Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC)!

Keila Poulsen wearing casual clothes, standing next to a table with candles and a sign saying, "THANK YOU FOR COMING"
Keila Poulsen smiles at a celebration given in her honor for providing 50 years of care at HCA Healthcare affiliate Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC).

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure for American employees with one company is around 4.2 years. Keila began her career with EIRMC – including time with hospitals that have merged to become the current HCA Healthcare affiliate – in 1969 and never looked back.

“This place has provided so much to me. I never would have grown into the person I’ve become without the leadership of all the front offices I’ve had,” Keila told the local newspaper Post Register.

As a trained hematologist – the branch of medicine that studies the cause, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of blood-related diseases – Keila identifies red or white blood cells and platelet formation to recognize infection (sepsis), sickle-cell anemia, or most often, leukemia. She has served as the hematology and histology supervisor at the Idaho Falls, Idaho hospital for almost her entire career.

Keila Poulsen standing in a lab, wearing a white lab coat and holding up a book called "Anderson's Atlas of Hematology Second Edition"
Keila Poulsen poses with one of the hematology books that she’s co-authored titled “Anderson’s Atlas of Hematology”.

“Anyone who knows Keila can attest to the fact that she has never been content to ‘rest on her laurels,’ said Jeff Sollis, chief executive officer at EIRMC. “She keeps raising the bar to learn about her field, advance her skillset and passionately provide the best care possible to our community.”

The longtime lab scientist explained that this work has always been in her blood (pun intended). As a child, Keila’s mother gave up half of the washroom in their home to serve as her daughter’s lab – complete with a microscope and workspace.  And it was in high school when the baby boomer discovered a brochure featuring a woman wearing a white lab coat and instinctively knew it would be the profession for her.

“Keila was made for this,” said Scott Bradley, director of laboratory services at EIRMC. “Her commitment to the role she plays in our patients’ lives, her pure enthusiasm for the profession, and her profound desire to keep learning and growing and getting better every day is inspiring to watch. We’ve all learned so much from her.”

Three medical professionals standing together while wearing white lab coats
EIRMC lab colleagues, including Keila Poulsen, are proud of the care they provide to the community every day.

A student of the lab and a lover of pathology, Keila also takes her talents to Brigham Young University. There, the adjunct professor tells her students if they don’t have a passion for this work, change their plans now. “You should do something you want to do for the rest of your life,” the co-author of Anderson’s Atlas of Hematology explained.

Keila has taken her own advice and is one of the rare few individuals to receive a 50-year pin or party for their tenure with one company. In fact, only one in 10 U.S. workers has logged 20 or more years at a single employer, according to the Labor Department.

As for a few good reasons why she’s stayed with the HCA Healthcare family for so long?

“One of the main things that I am proud of and grateful for is that every single day I came to work, I was able to learn something new,” said Keila. “And, you think about that over 50 years, you can see why I’m still in the laboratory and still doing the job that I have because of the excitement and joy of learning something every single day.”

“I chose to work here, I chose one husband. I have one AOL (email account) and I’ve banked at one bank,” she said when EIRMC reached its 30-year anniversary in 2016.

We’re grateful that Keila chose HCA Healthcare and continues to make a positive impact on our patients, our colleagues, the communities we serve and the nation’s standards of care.

Congratulations on 50-years of caring!

Jeff Solis presenting Keila Poulsen with a framed letter in front of an audience
EIRMC CEO Jeff Sollis presents Keila with a framed congratulatory letter from Sam Hazen, chief executive officer at HCA Healthcare.

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is part of the HCA Healthcare Mountain Division. Visit here to join the HCA Healthcare family. 

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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