Richard Nixon was President of the United States.
First-class stamps cost 8 cents.
In the same year – 1972 – Pheloicsa “Phlo” Bostick went to work as a medical laboratory technician at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.
Richard Nixon announced his resignation on August 8, 1974. The United States has had nine different presidents since then. First-class stamps are now 58 cents, 50 over 50 years ago.
And speaking of 50: Phlo Bostick is still working at the hospital with no desire to slow down.
yes. Let this sink in. Fifty years with the same employer, working in a laboratory where she is highly respected as a disciplined guide who is dedicated to patient care.
“It kind of slipped on me,” said Bostick, a Palm Bay resident. “I didn’t aim for 50 and didn’t think about it. Even when I was 45, I didn’t think about it.”
But employers think highly of the feat—particularly Bostick.
At Health First, “we are evolving to be more focused on healing well and living well,” said Paula Just, Chief Experience Officer.
“People like Flo Bostick, who won’t accept being slow, are role models for us,” she said. “Her longevity is an inspiration to us in the Health First community, and we’re thrilled to celebrate alongside her.”
Bostick was born for the job, it seems.
Born in Georgia and a member of a large family, she grew up from a young age in Florida and graduated from high school in Jacksonville. As a young woman, she wanted to become a research scientist, she said, but after two years of college, she eventually joined training in Orlando, as a lab technician.
After the marriage, her husband’s job took them all over Florida, and eventually to Brevard County. In 1972, a recommendation came in handy, and she ended up giving an interview at Holmes.
“She was kind of young, but I did meet with the pathologist…we got along,” she said.
“They needed someone.”
Clearly it was that person.
Times have changed over 50 years.
Technology has changed.
Along the way, Bostick raised three children, faced the loss of her husband and became a grandmother of eight.
Her dedication to being a part of those changes hasn’t wavered. She enjoys continuing education, such as having technicians go through every two years to renew their license.
“When I got there, a lot of the testing was manual. We had some semi-automation, but there was a lot of manual testing,” she said.
“So, over the years, we’ve upgraded over time, to almost complete automation now…it took longer to adapt to automation than guys born with it, but I love it. I learn from them and they learn from me.”
Bostick, 78. Perseveres.
She loves the work, the challenges, and being part of a team dedicated to caring for patients in the same place she started decades ago.
Becky Ripola is a clinical laboratory manager at Holmes Laboratory Services. She has been known to Bostick since 2017, when Rebola became its director at Core Lab.
Rebola said lab staff care of patient data is very similar to the way a bedside nurse would do patient care.
She’s definitely the mentor and expert in her field—she’s been treated like a leader,” said Rebola, who has about 30 colleagues working alongside her.
“Patient outcomes depend on care from the lab, just as it depends on clinical care,” said Rebola.
“Phlo is an exceptional lab scientist who has evolved with the technology, practices, and equipment we have here in the lab. One of the things that has become critical to excellence in our field is accurate reporting. We process samples, test them quickly, and generate results electronically. So we have to be very careful and diligent about data. and reporting. Phlo has shown great care and accuracy when producing valuable data.”
The hospital celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1987 and its seventy-fifth year in 2012.
Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, Bostick appears.
Waking up early does not bother her.
“I’m so used to doing this, I don’t even need an alarm clock,” Bostick said. “I get up at 4:30 in the morning, I get out of here at 5:30 and I’m at work at 6.”
Her colleagues said Bostick lives up to what she says often. “Try to see the best in people.”
Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, ‘Look at the good in people and help others,’ said Repola, is the true nature of Flo Bostik.
And about this celebration: Colleagues planned a punch and a cake for Bostick on September 23.
Bostick said she wasn’t expecting a “party.”
Helping others is exactly what you do.
Just think about it.
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