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Clinical lab-tech day serves as education model.

Last summer--in its effort to set the pace for laboratory-training organizations across the country--the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) team developed the idea of a clinical lab-tech day as part of its continuing-education (CE) model.

For its August 2005 inaugural event--created through its Laboratory Improvement Unit and co-sponsored by the National Laboratory Training Network (NLTN)--the group selected the topic of phlebotomy as its primary training focus, with the adjunct subjects of safety and medical-waste disposal.

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As a result of careful planning and promotion, the North Carolina Clinical Lab-Tech Day attracted over 250 participants from five states. Held on the Raleigh campus of Wake Technical Community College, the event was attended by both public and private-sector laboratory professionals as well as educators, students, safety officers, nurses, and nursing and medical office assistants.

During the day, participants attended four educational sessions as well as a book-signing and visited 16 display areas where they met with exhibitors. They also had the opportunity to meet, mix, and network at sponsor-arranged refreshment breaks and lunch. Over 50 individuals won door prizes ranging from a CD player to polo shirts, posters, books, and stuffed toys.

Full day for lab professionals

Dennis J. Ernst, MT(ASCP), director of the Center for Phlebotomy Education in Ramsey, IN, led the first presentation, "Mastering Pediatric Phlebotomy," where he provided tips on collecting successful specimens from infants and adolescents.

In his second session, "New CLSI Standards: Important Changes Every Phlebotomist Must Know," Ernst emphasized the new order of draw as well as the need for laboratory professionals to strictly adhere to patient identification protocols. An expert legal witness in phlebotomy-related injury cases, he stressed that employees may subject themselves and their patients to injury and their employers to liability by not adhering to current industry standards.

Next, William Patrakis, RS, BA, MA, an environmental biologist with the Division of Waste Management, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, outlined the requirements for identifying and disposing of regulated and nonregulated waste in his session on "Disposing of Medical Waste." He reviewed medical-waste definitions, rules, and regulations and also provided tips for reducing disposal costs.

Rounding out the day's educational agenda, Steven Preissler, MS, an occupational safety and health specialist with the North Carolina Department of Labor, gave an overview of the procedures involved for laboratories adhering to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements in "Understanding OSHA and the Inspection Process." He covered such topics as citations, noncompliance penalties, and abatement.

At their convenience during the all-day meeting, registrants could also meet with exhibitors--among them, representatives from Beckman Coulter; Caligor; CargoPak; HemoCue; Infolab; Kawasumi Laboratories America; Nikon Instruments; RAM Scientific; Retractable Technologies; Sarstedt; Smiths Medical; and Vashaw Scientific. The schedule gave registrants adequate time to watch instrument demonstrations, evaluate products, and learn about new technology and services, as well as collect pertinent literature.

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Mission accomplished

By the end of the program, many registrants reported that watching demonstrations of various types of blood-collection products increased or improved their knowledge about phlebotomy issues. Many were also able to describe proper phlebotomy techniques for both pediatric and adult patients; explain how the new CLSI standards impact specimen collection; identify proper disposal methods for regulated and nonregulated medical waste, including contaminated sharps; and describe the OSHA inspection process.

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Conference organizers used several basic concepts that lab-improvement units or training departments nationwide could duplicate when mapping out their own CE programs: 1) organize training under the umbrella of an eight-hour clinical lab-tech day; 2) recruit quality, relevant speakers; and 3) keep the registration fee low ($25) by finding and recruiting co-sponsors and exhibitors.

With its mission to offer opportunities to present pertinent topics to today's healthcare communities, the NCSLPH and its Laboratory Improvement Unit used creative collaborations and partnerships to meet this challenge through the North Carolina Clinical Lab-Tech Day.

Lisa O. Ballance, BS, MT(ASCP), is a regional laboratory consultant at the Laboratory Improvement Unit of the NCSLPH in Fayetteville, NC.

Education feature to appear monthly in 2006

In 2006, MLO's Editorial Calendar contains a new monthly Education section as highlighted in "Clinical Lab-Tech Day serves as education model" on the facing page. Last month [p. 42], for example, Marian J. Cavagnaro, MS, MT(ASCP), DLM, wrote of her experiences in Ethiopia and Tanzania in a feature entitled "I hope you dance." Topics for 2006 include career paths in forensics, phlebotomy education, scholarship opportunities, med-lab camps for young people, and many others.

MLO is on the lookout for information about interesting or unusual careers in medical laboratory science, working vacations or traveling workshops, or scholarship offerings for students and/or current medical laboratory personnel. If you have a story to share, or if you have an interest in learning more details about articles MLO publishes, please contact the Editor.

By Lisa O. Ballance, BS, MT(ASCP)
COPYRIGHT 2005 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:EDUCATION
Author:Ballance, Lisa O.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:811
Previous Article:2006 editorial calendar.
Next Article:Team does not trust employee.
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