BLS Featured CLSO: Jodi Ploquin
|1. Who are you?
My name is Jodi Ploquin, although some may know me as Jodi Powers (as I was not yet married when I first got my certification). I am currently living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What is your educational background?
3. Where do you work?
I am currently a consultant with KRMC (Krivonosov Risk Management Consultants Inc.), as a Medical Health Physicist and Certified Laser Safety Officer. My areas of expertise include laser safety, radiation safety, nuclear security and system reviews following adverse events.
4. When did you start working with lasers?/ How long have you worked with lasers?
I have been working with lasers since approximately 2002.
5. How did you become the LSO?
I was approached by the Provincial Radiation Safety Officer after being hired as Radiation Safety Officer of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and asked if I would be interested in being the Provincial Laser Safety Officer for the Alberta Cancer Board. At the time Class 3B and Class 4 were being used in research and surgery, and there was no ‘in house’ Laser Safety Officer. I agreed to take my LSO training and examination to become certified. I had the privilege of being taught by David Sliney at a LIA course in Toronto, ON. Then five years later, I was hired as a Medical Health Physicist at the Ottawa Hospital. Shortly after starting, I learned that the hospital did not have a formalized laser safety program. I conducted a gap analysis and developed a strategic plan to implement a laser safety program at the Ottawa Hospital, and presented it to senior leadership. Our department was given the necessary authority and resources to build the program, and again I found myself the Laser Safety Officer. After 5 years in Ottawa, we moved back to Calgary, Alberta, where I was asked to help establish the Calgary Office of KRMC to extend laser and radiation safety services to Western Canada.
6. Do you like being the LSO?/Challenges of “today’s” LSO?
What I enjoy most about being an LSO is going beyond the checkboxes on an inspection list, and seeing the impact I have had in creating a laser safety culture in an organization. When I started my position in 2007 as a Medical Health Physicist at the Ottawa Hospital, having my certification helped convince senior leadership to establish a formal laser safety program. The biggest challenge faced by today’s LSO is to reach all of the Class 3B and 4 lasers out there – it seems on every corner there is an establishment advertising laser services (dentistry, esthetic procedures) – the risk to the public is significant. This is why I chose to consult, to try to make a broader impact on laser safety.
7. How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
Many professional opportunities have resulted from being certified, in particular being a CLSO. Starting out in medical facilities, I did consider CMLSO certification, but in the Province of Alberta, in order to be an Authorized Radiation Protection Agency offering laser safety services, CLSO designation is required. Secondly, in the medical field, most professions require certification and certification maintenance. This requirement in laser safety helps the profession, and those individuals working in it, to be taken seriously.