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Raise public awareness of the laboratorian's role in health care.

Millions of lab tests are performed in this country each year, yet most people remain unaware trained professional run these tests and play a key role in saving lives. To shed light on what lab workers can do to become more visible to -- and respected by -- the medical community and the public, the editors of MLO solicited its Editorial Advisory Board for pearls of wisdom. Here's what they said:

"We, as laboratorians, can benefit by dedicating time (the hardest part) to providing continuing education, consulting with providers and politicians, and offering our expertise to our community's indigent care clinics. While increasing our visibility, it is important we speak openly about the concerns of the laboratory industry and listen attentively when others tell of theirs. Respect will be gained by making insightful comments and recommendations." - C. Anne Pontius, MT(ASCP), CLS (NCA), president, Laboratory Compliance Consultants, Raleigh, N.C.

"Every professional in the field should make National Medical Laboratory Week a celebration of communicating pertinent laboratory knowledge to the various health care providers as well as the public. To market ourselves, we should be willing to serve on CQI teams and write letters to the editor of our local newspapers regarding the contributions clinical laboratorians make to patient care. Remember ... it takes only one person to light a fire!" - Lucia M. Berte, M.A., MT(ASCP)SBB, DLM, consultant, Elmhurst, Ill

"Laboratorians can serve as a unique teaching resource for students. Our lab has a longstanding arrangement with a local high school that consists of touring biology students around our department to demonstrate current methodologies and encourage youths to volunteer their time. This initiative has led to several students choosing lab medicine as a career path and has brought community attention to an otherwise seldom-celebrated component of our hospital." - Laurence I. Alpert, M.D., director of laboratories and nuclear medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital Center, Mount Kisco, N.Y., and associate professor of pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, N.Y.

"Lab employees who take the time to inform media (television, newspaper, radio) of their areas of expertise will be called upon for comment when timely lab-related issues surface. I also suggest they participate in hospital medical grand rounds, when appropriate, to discuss lab results in clinical cases. And I urge colleagues to sponsor an annual laboratory seminar led by an expert in our field for the hospital community." - Bernard E. Statland, M.D., Ph.d., president, Statland Laboratory Consulting, Nashville, Tenn,

"As lab professionals, we must extend our activities at the benchside to have impact at the bedside. Let's support point-of-care testing, pick up the telephone to report panic values to clinicians and nurses, and confer with other health care professionals, whether in writing or informally. Furthermore, we should participate in hospital committees that define practices of care." - Mario Werner, M. D., professor of pathology (laboratory medicine), The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

"The medical community can be a tough nut to crack. Speaking to nursing classes and first-year med students is a wonderful step in the right direction. Participating in community health care councils also helps strengthen dialogue with various health care providers. Regarding public awareness, get the word out to the young as early as possible through career days, science fairs, and open houses. Another suitable group to whom we can market ourselves are senior citizens." - Sharon M. Miller, Ph.C., MT(ASCP), CLS(NCA), professor and associate dean, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill.

"To boost lab visibility and concurrently keep ourselves viable during a period of extreme turmoil in the industry, laboratorians must network with peers via the Internet and business cards (containing fax number and Internet address). Becoming a mentor to fledglings in the lab provides wonderful opportunities for personal growth and recognition. History teaches us in times of great peril and change, a few highly motivated people can make a difference." - James W. Brown, Ph.D., M.H.A., HCLD(ABB) assistant commissioner of health, New Jersey State Department of Health, Division of Public Health and Environmental Laboratories, Trenton, N.J.

"It would benefit clinical lab professionals to become active in their local Chamber of Commerce. In addition, lab personnel should consider joining at least one (if not more) local service club. While participating in various community activities will not bring recognition of the field overnight, they are an excellent starting point." - Alvin M. Salton, M.B.A., BLD, laboratory director, Community Medical Laboratories, Metuchen, N.J.

"Planning as well as participating in various community health assessments/screenings in schools and churches are excellent occasions for laboratorians to actuate hands-on interaction with varied audiences. Such programs give laboratorians golden opportunities to explain their daily work and demonstrate the interesting, vital contributions they make to the overall delivery of health care." - Diana L. Headley, M,A., MT(ASCP)SC, coordinator of clinical laboratory services, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.

"In this era of increased competition, the term `outreach' is noted frequently as a strategy for laboratory survival. Prime opportunities to participate in this initiative include becoming actively involved in a hospital's near-patient testing program which pulls technologists into specific patient care arenas) as well as helping a physicians' office laboratory to meet the various CLIA requirements." - Daniel M. Baer, M.D., chief of pathology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and professor of pathology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Ore.
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Title Annotation:National Medical Laboratory Week 1996
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Apr 1, 1996
Words:907
Previous Article:Upsize yourself in a downsizing climate.
Next Article:Continuing education: a tool for survival.
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