Scientific curiosity and passion for helping others

Najwan Al-Qashteeni’s journey from lab student to medical technologist: This is her story of finding success at Norton Healthcare.

Najwan Al-Qashteeni came to the United States in 2012 from Baghdad, Iraq, with a veterinary background and an interest in health care. While perfecting her English, Najwan moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and took an environmental services job in health care with a goal to work in a lab. Persistent in her dreams, she landed a role in a lab as a phlebotomist, where she spent four years learning, growing, and deepening her love of science. A friend took notice of Najwan’s passion for science and suggested a career in medical laboratory science, even writing Najwan a letter of recommendation for admission to Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC). 

Najwan enrolled, studying during the day and working nights to pay the bills. Meanwhile, in her job, she  moved up to lab processor and learned of an incredible opportunity at Norton Healthcare. In 2018 she applied for a laboratory student position at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and was accepted for a student chemist position. Grateful for the opportunity and eager to learn, Najwan often volunteered for shifts in other specialty areas. 

“The preparing, studying – it’s a short time. It is hard. Consumes your energy. Believe in yourself. Walk through it. Dedicate yourself. It is worth it.”

– Najwan Al-Qashteeni, former lab student and current laboratory medical technologist at Norton Healthcare

“Being accepted as a student was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It opened my eyes and motivated me differently,” Najwan said. “It showed me how I impact patient care. How I affect the outcome. How important my role is.”

In 2019, Najwan graduated with her associate degree in medical lab science from JCTC.

“Transitioning from student to tech is always challenging. But having the opportunity to make that transition at Norton Healthcare gives [me] a feeling of comfort and support that you may not have elsewhere. My co-workers are my family,” Najwan said.

Najwan has been a medical technologist at Norton Healthcare for five years and now mentors students going through the same program. She graduated from the bachelor’s degree program in 2023 and plans to take the medical technologist board certification exam in 2024. Her dedication to learning and advancing her knowledge is impressive and reflected through her impact in patient care.

“We get to see how science evolves and changes every day, in real time — not just reading theories in books,” Najwan said. “Our work impacts the diagnostics that provide the answers that lead to action. That is something incredible to be a part of.”

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