Ricky Dragon – Medical Laboratory Assistant

Ricky DragonNOT MANY PEOPLE would mix a laboratory assistant and a rapper but in Ricky Dragon you get both.

Ricky, 42, from Handsworth, is a Medical Laboratory Assistant at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. His role includes testing a wide range of medical samples from patients across Sandwell and Birmingham.

He said: “Every sample that is taken from an ill person is sent to our department so we can prepare it, put it on slides, and grow it in an area that mimics the conditions of the human body. From this we can identify what it is in order to provide the most appropriate treatment for our patient.”

Before training for his current role in the laboratory, Ricky had a wide and varied career, from selling double glazing, to being a semi-professional basketball player. He has always been open minded when it comes to the world of work.

He said: “I didn’t wake up one day wanting to work in a lab. I wanted to be a pilot. I knew this would be very difficult, so I focussed on my education to ensure that one day I could answer a question and have the potential to go forward. I saw the opening as a Medical Laboratory Assistant and decided I could do it, and luckily I got the job five years ago.

“I enjoy making a difference. I enjoy knowing that somebody got a treatment because I got a sample back on time, or I did my job well. It may be a child who needs help. Every sample deserves my attention and focus to do a good job. I try to do the best I can do.

“I am not afraid to have a new challenge. I had never worked in a lab before but I got the opportunity to come here and learn from some great teachers, who can put into a few words what some people would struggle to understand. I appreciate and value everybody’s experience.

“In the future, I would maybe like to go into a role that would be working with people more, but it would have to be something that offered some form of progression and that I was capable and confident in doing. I am open minded about the future, but I am not looking to leave anytime soon.”

Away from work, Ricky is interested in sports, reading, writing, poetry and music. He regularly performs at open mic nights.

Ricky recently won the Trust’s got Talent competition with his original rap ‘The Anthology of Pathology’ which gave him some useful prize money to go into the pot before the forthcoming birth of his first child.

He said: “Some people have called me a rapper, it means rhythm and poetry, so I find a rhythm that I like and express myself to it.”

Ricky feels his heroes are everywhere at work. He said: “I couldn’t be happier to work in the hospital. There are so many wonderful people that have so much experience they are willing to share. My heroes are the volunteers who run the shop, who come in even when it is cold and wet, the cleaners who are here every night after I have gone home, and the nurses who deal with so much.

“The ordinary people are my heroes and they sometimes don’t get the thanks they deserve. I want to thank every person that does a good job, they are all heroes.”