Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Wow, it has been awhile since I have blogged. I have been buried by work on my current rotation. It has been interesting and I have learned a lot. But I will be glad to see the 2 months come to an end and to get to move on to something else. There is a lot going on in the world of health care right now--swine flu, Obama's plan for reform, and an IOM report uring MDs to stop taking gifts from drug companies, just to name a few. Perhaps I can discuss some of those issues later.

But I bet that you did not know that last week was National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. This years theme was "Laboratory Professionals Get Results." Cute. I would not have known about lab week either except that I was surrounded by the festivities. For me that meant grabbing some cheese, fruit, and ice cream from the many free lunches that occurred and running back to work.

In a way it is kind of sad that no one outside of the lab really knew about lab week (except, of course, for the staff from a neighboring department who crashed every event to take free food). Over the course of this year I have come to realize that few people really know what goes on in a clinical laboratory most of the time. I am included in this too despite having done a rotation in "lab management." To sum it up very briefly it takes a lot of staff, coordination, and regulation to keep all of the machines and tests putting out high quality data. The laboratory professionals are highly skilled and there is a huge shortage of them nationwide. Better publicizing lab week might be a good way to call attention to the shortage, to help everyone in health care better understand what it is exactly that laboratory professionals do, and how essential they are to providing good patient care.


RubyRidge said...

As a rule, you can generally cruise through life with the assumption that everyone that you will ever meet, see, hear about, or pass on a poorly lit, breezy avenue has absolutely no clue as to the happenings of the lab. I work in serology & micro and instead of telling people what I actually do, I just say "AIDS & TB tests." The lab is the redheaded stepchild, no doubt. I'm glad that we've got pathologists around to lend the lab at least some clout. I'm sure that the ER nurses think that our job involves interrupting their lives with critical values and standing by machines that do all our work, pausing only to delay results by our very presence. That being said, most are still nice & patient with me, on the phone at least. Our lab is a moneymaker, no doubt, but still uses lab software from 1995, while the freakin' cath lab boasts Samsung 40 inchers & smells like a new 3-series.

The Lone Coyote said...

RubyRidge, you have summed it up better than I ever could. My hat is off to you.