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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Membership Does Have its Advantages

Published February 15, 2008 8:47 AM by Glen McDaniel

I was speaking to an older physician recently who bewailed the fact that his younger colleagues do not seem to believe in the benefits of society membership. Most physicians are concerned with the cost of doing business: malpractice insurance, continuing education, licensure fees, and do not feel a need to belong to professional organizations for camaraderie or social benefit.

They see society membership simply as unnecessary added cost. I found that really interesting since I had never heard that before about physicians.

I have, however, noticed that many laboratorians think membership in a professional association is an unnecessary (and expensive) luxury. I happen to disagree and even wrote a column about it a while back. Here is part of what I said:

I would submit that organizational membership is definitely good "bang for the buck," especially in these changing times. When selling the benefit of membership, we often talk generically and globally of the importance of networking and being part of a larger whole. Members have direct access to their peers, including leaders in their field-an inner circle of colleagues who provide support and motivation. New members to the profession are guided and mentored into maturity by more seasoned professionals who offer experience and (hopefully) wisdom. It is not uncommon for this interaction to translate into new jobs, an expanded scope of practice, increased knowledge, skill coping with professional challenges and the opportunity to grow as a leader. This is all very good and noble, but membership offers so much more.

If you have dismissed organizational membership as a luxury or totally without value, I urge you to reconsider. If you ask, "What has (pick any professional organization) done for me lately?" my answer would be: "A lot, and they could do much much more--with your help."

As a proud dues-paying member of several professional clinical lab science organizations, I can say I benefit from networking, attendance at meetings with stellar educational offerings, the opportunity to lead, the privilege to serve and the satisfaction of being a guiding force in my profession.



I support society membership partly because of the comaraderie and networking afforded. One of the things we not only can do -but SHOULD absolutely do- is hold organizations accountable for supporting our interests and providing the services WE need. If we have concerns about practice or legislation, our organizations must represent our views in those arenas.  Simply joining and going along with the status quo is not enough.

Most organizations survey members periodically as to what they want, what they consider valuable and what aditional services they would like. Sadly few people even respond and take advantage of the opportunity to speak up.  In many ways our organizations are only as good as we insist they are.

As a member of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) I tell them about the overpriced services, the lousy response time for voice messages left, the confusion of reaching the correct  decision maker etc etc. I dont claim to have reformed ACHE but I demand service for my (rather substantial) dues. We have to do the same for our laboratory organizations.

Glen McDaniel April 7, 2008 4:26 PM
Atlanta GA

Yes and No, I agree that society memberships are important for networking; but one also have to consider the quality of the society.  I’d rather pay $200 to join the AACC then to pay the $100 to join the ASCP or ASCLS. To me, you get “more bang for you bucks” for the AACC. If you compare the quality of the journals and the local meetings, you can really tell the differences.

As a young professional, I don't see why I should pay $80 every three years just to maintain my ASCP certificate. To be honest, even if one has completed the required CE, it doesn't show that he/she is current and competent on their clinical knowledge. It’s nothing more then a sticker (as I’ve heard from a lot of techs).  If we want to attract more bright people into this profession, we as in laboratory technologist have to step up the game and be eager to learn new technologies. It is not something $80 can solve in this profession.

It’s not about the money; it’s about the quality.

Benjamin Chan, Medical Technologist April 1, 2008 5:49 AM
Seattle WA


Thanks for your comments. Kudos to you for embracing and sharing this perspective.  Self-empowered laboratorians like you are an inspiration and positive influence on all around you, including new professionals who all to often these days hear only the negative.

It is not a coincidence that people who take responsibility for their fate very often are happier, perform better, work more efficiently and are more successful overall. It does seem that to a large degree we create our own "luck".

Glen McDaniel March 13, 2008 2:43 PM
Atlanta GA

Bravo...Bravo... Glen!  

Every day for the past 30+ years as a proud clinical laboratory professional, I see my professional glass as being full and sometimes even overflowing!  Even after all this time my profession excites me.  The excitement and satisfaction comes from belonging to a professional organization that allows my individual voice to be heard on the important matters relating to how I practice my profession.  Every time I renew my professional organization membership, I give back to my chosen profession by helping to create the future through unified voice and action.

"If it is to is up to me"... it is my profession, my life, and my choice.  I choose to be a proud and passionate clinical laboratory science professional who will always have membership in a professional organization.

Lezlee, Clinical Laboratory Science - Manager March 1, 2008 8:08 PM

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