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Meet So Tran

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17th July, 2023

Meet So Tran, affectionately known as ‘Uncle So’ and ‘Pappa So’ by those around him.

A Tech­ni­cal Offi­cer, Uncle So is one of our front­line pathol­o­gy collectors.


40 years of blood collection experience

With the nick­name, “the man with the gold­en hands”, Uncle So’s skills are clear­ly top-notch.

He works across sev­er­al of our West­ern Syd­ney pub­lic hos­pi­tal sites at West­mead, Black­town, Auburn and Mount Druitt.

Always keen to help peo­ple, Uncle So decid­ed to train as a Reg­is­tered Nurse but switched to blood col­lec­tion, where he would meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple every day and be part of their care team. He com­plet­ed his stud­ies and got his first job with us at Bel­mont Hos­pi­tal. Lat­er, he com­plet­ed his Pathol­o­gy Col­lec­tion Cer­tifi­cate III while work­ing with our team at Westmead.

With 40 years of expe­ri­ence on his side, his tech­ni­cal skills are sec­ond to none. There’s not much he’s not seen or dealt with before.


What it takes to be a good pathology collector

“To be a good col­lec­tor, you need to be con­fi­dent in your­self and your abil­i­ties. That’s how you reas­sure patients and fam­i­lies they’re in good hands. Plus, peo­ple think I’m fun­ny, so I tell jokes to help relax those who might be anx­ious or worried.”

When asked what he loves about his job, Uncle So says, “I love my job, the patients and my team. I like peo­ple, I like help­ing them and I’m good with blood.”

Uncle So says one of the most sat­is­fy­ing parts of his role is: “When I see patients who are very upset or angry and I can calm them down. I believe hap­pi­ness rubs off on oth­ers and I’m always in good spir­its and pos­i­tive. Some­times all they need is some­one to talk to and explain what’s happening.”

Every­one knows Uncle So. His easy-going and friend­ly per­son­al­i­ty makes peo­ple smile and puts every­one at ease.


photo of Uncle So at workVariety gives job satisfaction

“The vari­ety keeps me going,” he says, “I work across a few hos­pi­tals and vis­it dif­fer­ent wards, adults, kids plus the out­pa­tient departments.”

Pae­di­atric col­lec­tions, espe­cial­ly babies, can be tricky but Uncle So thinks dif­fer­ent­ly. “Babies aren’t dif­fi­cult if you have good tech­nique. Usu­al­ly, if the par­ents stay near­by the baby doesn’t cry. But if they leave and move away the baby cries. I make sure I’m gen­tle and calm. When they see it’s all over, I see the par­ents smile and take a big breath.” Uncle So has found his hap­py place at work.



Everyone’s journey is unique

Born in Viet­nam, Uncle So prac­tised Bud­dhism and lived as a Monk at Tem­ple for many years. Leav­ing when the war began, he spent time in a refugee camp in Malaysia before arriv­ing in Syd­ney to start his new life at age 19.

At 32, he found his life part­ner, a Viet­namese Nun, now his wife. They mar­ried and set­tled down to start a family.

Out­side of work, he’s active and likes to run. He’s held onto much of his Bud­dhist teach­ing and reg­u­lar­ly prac­tices Tai Chi and med­i­ta­tion. “It keeps me young.” Uncle So’s “tea group” is his time to chat about any­thing and every­thing over cups of steam­ing tea. “It’s my time to socialise, share and lis­ten,” he says.

A hum­ble, kind man, he’s also active in his neigh­bour­hood. A local com­mu­ni­ty leader, Uncle So gives his time and wis­dom to younger gen­er­a­tions as a men­tor, encour­ag­ing them to live good, healthy and hap­py lives.

Now at 62 Uncle So has no plans to slow down any­time soon and rec­om­mends his career to others.


Find out more about Aus­trali­a’s largest pub­lic pathol­o­gy service.


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