Ali Zarrugh: ‘Never Give Up on Your Goals’

LBCC phlebotomy student Ali Zarrugh

Five years ago, Ali Zarrugh arrived in the United States. In January of this year he graduated from Linn-Benton Community College’s phlebotomy program. Today, he works as a phlebotomist at Samaritan Hospital. When it came to going to school and graduating with a certificate in healthcare, he attributes his success to perseverance and a little help from LBCC.

“Success is a mix of discipline and effort,” Zarrugh said. “Don’t give up, though. It’s hard to go to school during a pandemic, but it is worthwhile.”

Zarrugh first discovered his passion for healthcare while he was working and studying pathology at Tripoli Central Hospital in his home country of Libya. He also volunteered at the Red Crescent in his spare time. After moving to Corvallis in 2017 and enrolling in LBCC’s English Language Acquisition program, Zarrugh’s instructors encouraged him and his peers to pursue certificates in programs of their choice at LBCC.

“I thought the phlebotomy program at LBCC was the closest career path to what I had already studied,” Zarrugh reflected. “I’m familiar with healthcare. It also helped that it was a short program that would help me get into the field very quickly.”

Zarrugh recalled all of the faculty and staff at LBCC being very helpful and understanding during his studies.

“English is my second language, so I struggled a bit but the staff were understanding and made sure I understood what was expected of me,” Zarrugh said. “I enjoyed getting to know cultures and people from different countries while I was in school.”

Like other professionals in his field, Zarrugh describes working in the healthcare industry as “challenging” and “stressful,” but he says he feels safe working in the conditions that the hospital has mandated during the pandemic.

“On one hand I’m aware of my commitment to our patients at the hospital, and on the other hand I also think about my commitment to protecting myself and my loved ones,” Zarrugh said. “So, I follow the hospital’s rules to keep myself and those around me safe. It takes a little more time to prepare before going into the lab because of the personal protective gear we’ve been provided with, but I feel safe doing so.”

When looking back on his journey at LBCC, Zarrugh added that all of the staff, faculty and different course requirements worked together in different ways to prepare him for his career today.

“I think what helped me most were the case studies and scenarios that we covered during the phlebotomy program,” Zarrugh said. “They helped prepare me for what I would encounter as a professional. LBCC made it easy to transition from a student to a working phlebotomist.”

Healthcare workers like Ali are needed now more than ever. You can begin your educational journey with LBCC by checking out our wide list of program options and seeing what’s right for you. If you’re interested in a career as a phlebotomist like Ali, you can check out the phlebotomy program page and join our free informational session on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

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