Kawaski Owens: The Tech with the Gentlest Touch
To some at Cloverleaf Immediate Care, Kawaski Owens is known as the tech “with the gentlest touch.”
It’s a skill that is fairly known by both colleagues and patients. One of Owens’ coworkers says her daughter was having her blood drawn at another medical facility and the tech there was having issues drawing the girl’s blood.
“She was crying because they kept sticking her but couldn’t find a vein. She called me and said, ‘Can Kawaski do it?’ Because Kawaski just has the gentlest touch,” says the coworker.
It’s a compliment that, when brought up in front of him, leaves Owens smiling and bashfully hanging his head.
“I always imagine it’s a family member,” Owens says about how he approaches patient interactions. He says lab/X-ray technicians, like himself, are not often met with smiles and gratitude by patients because the tech’s responsibilities are not exactly pleasant for the patient.
“We’re pretty much the first line of patient care. We draw blood samples, swabbing…and we do diagnostic X-rays. Sometimes we room patients, get vital signs, a lot of things,” he explains.
Owens says he understands why patients may like interacting with lab techs the least. That’s why he treats the patients he works with like his own family.
“I wouldn’t want my family members to be mistreated.”
The 33-year-old West Point native joined Hattiesburg Clinic in 2012. Prior to that, he put his Psychology degree to good use as a clinical assistant at a local mental and behavioral health center, before switching careers to lab/X-ray tech.
Something else he’s known for in his department is being the resident jokester.
“I used to scare the nurses so bad. I’d sneak up on them.”
He’s also been known to tape the bottom of a computer mouse or two, leaving his victim scratching their head and wondering why in the world their mouse isn’t working.
As for guilty pleasures, Owens says his guiltiest of pleasures goes by the name of Little Debbie.
“She just has a hold on my life, and I can’t escape her. Nutty bars are at the top, then swiss rolls and the list just goes on and on.”
He says, “I like to get a box and put a bunch of different Debbie cakes in it and pull one out so it’s a surprise.”
Owens says he realizes his addiction to this individually wrapped sugary goodness is a serious issue but has no intentions of giving it up anytime soon.
When he’s not engaging in prank wars with coworkers or indulging in boxes of Little Debbie cakes, Owens is entertaining dreams of becoming a surgeon.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue that but it’s so involved.” Therefore, he says, he focuses on taking small steps towards that dream and achieving small goals at a time until the dream is reality.
In the meantime, Owens will have to settle for being the tech with the gentlest touch.