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Toot your horn in celebration of National Medical Laboratory Week!

The theme of this year's National Medical Laboratory Week (NMLW), April 15-21 -- "Laboratory professionals: Solving today's medical mysteries" -- springs from the fact that laboratorians perform tests and interpret results that can reveal a health problem long before symptoms occur, thus permitting early intervention that averts disease and saves lives.

That's a pretty impressive job description. When people ask you what you do for a living, do you answer simply that you "work in a lab?" That you're a lab manager? That you're an MT? Or do you explain what that means, and how you are an invaluable link in the healthcare chain? Do your spouse, children, friends, and extended family know exactly how your job impacts patients' lives? Do your colleagues and superiors comprehend how your contribution impacts the bottom line?

According to American Medical Technologists (AMT), the objectives of this year's NMLW are:

* To recognize the vital contributions of clinical laboratory science professionals.

* To recognize the dedication of clinical scientists to consumers.

* To educate the public, government, and private sectors about the key role played by clinical laboratory scientists.

* To enhance the image of clinical laboratory professionals.

And not a moment too soon. This year's NMLW comes on the heels of CLMA's declaration of a "clinical laboratory staffing emergency." Expecting a shortfall of about 5,000 lab employees, the association reports that "low pay, lack of recognition, stressful working conditions, and the risk of infection and exposure have created a declining pool of certified laboratorians across the country." They say that the number of educational programs for clinical professionals has decreased by 53% over the last 10 years, producing 50% fewer graduates annually.

In honor of this year's NMLW, MLO conducted an Outstanding Laboratorian contest. We asked all of you to nominate someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of laboratory medicine. Our thanks to all of you who submitted entries, and our sincere appreciation and admiration to all of you who are doing so extraordinary a job that others felt compelled to nominate you.

I encourage all of you to read about our three featured laboratorians beginning on page 14, but I also encourage you to take a moment to honor yourself and your professional contribution to your patients, your workplace, and to healthcare at large. I then encourage you to turn to your left and to your right and honor two colleagues for their contributions to the same. Recognition for one's accomplishments and contributions, and for the field of laboratory medicine as a whole, begins with one voice -- yours. Tout your achievements to any and all who will listen. And next time someone asks what you do for a living, think twice before you answer.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Maher, Lisa
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2001
Words:451
Previous Article:Syphilis strip test.
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