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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

National Medical Lab Professionals Week

Published April 15, 2009 3:17 PM by Glen McDaniel
Next week from April 19th to the 25th we celebrate National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW). This is one week dedicated to celebrating the 300, 000 or so clinical laboratorians nationally and the contribution they make to the nation's healthcare.

In its 34th year, NMLPW- initiated by American Society for Clinical Lab Science (ASCLS)- is now jointly sponsored by 10 laboratory organizations. This year's theme is "Laboratory Professionals Get Results."

Of significance is the fact that in 2005 the committee added the word "professionals" to what was formerly National Medical Laboratory Week. That was a deliberate move to emphasize the significance of the individual, of each single laboratorian.

What is your laboratory planning? It's a great time to celebrate your accomplishments. Breakfasts, T-shirts, commemorative items are all great. But what an opportunity to teach others outside the lab about your contribution, education, skills, competence; your real value to the healthcare team.

This should be an ongoing endeavor. But NMPLW is a great opportunity/excuse to look  not just inward, but outward. This is a time to not just celebrate; but to advertise the brand.

Happy National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week to everyone!



posted by Glen McDaniel



Thanks for sharing those great ideas. There is more than one way to skin a cat (bad metaphor, perhaps, but you get my meaning). If one is persistent and innovative, there usually is a way to get around an obstacle.

I just received this link in an email. Clinical laboratorians in Minnesota got a local TV station to give them some great coverage.

Not only did I urge them to write in and  say thanks, but I  personally sent an email to the reporter as well. I bet you she will remember NMLPW next year!

Glen McDaniel April 23, 2009 1:50 PM

Last year I heard the line that the hospital would not be able to recognize individual weeks.  When I heard it again this year, I decided to do something about it.

First, I aimed smaller.  I suggested a little something each day -- a letter from the CEO, for example -- instead of a big celebration.

Second, I tried to make this about the hospital.  I suggested a human interest story for the local paper to highlight the profession but also the great work the hospital is doing through our lab.

We've done other little things this year -- such as a front lobby PowerPoint display -- to highlight our lab.  Just maybe, your administration with agree to small gestures.  They may be as overwhelmed with celebrating nursing and hospital weeks as the rest of us are.

Scott Warner April 22, 2009 6:03 AM

Labs are Vital has taken the initiative to contact hospital administrators informing/reminnding them of the vital role laboratorinas pay in general and of the celebration of NMLPW in particular.

You might want to make sure that your CEO and other decision makers in  your facility get a  copy of this letter.

By all means share this page with your colleagues. Abbott's Labs are Vital program is  the closest thing the lab has to the Johnson and Johnson massive  campaign to support nurses.

Glen McDaniel April 21, 2009 8:53 PM

During this period of Laboratory Week , I  look at the Lab Week poster in our lab and I am flushed with thoughts over what the nurses are doing on continuous basis to keep the public attention on their profession.

I wish we can emulate these nurses  considering the fact  that the laboratory workforce according to Labor Department statistics is fast ageing and replacing them seems like an uphill

task. Away with the current mulitiplicity of certifying agencies in our profession and welcome to a new era of one body , one certifying board  and one goal , just like the nurses . Away with with fighting and putting each other down and welcome the espirit de corps , just like the nurses . Nothing ,as they say ,will stop an event whose time has come.

Wishing us all a happy and fruitful LabWeek in 2009 !

Godwin Akubue, Corelab - NCA(CLS),MT(AAB),CLS (CA), Ukiah Valley Medical Center April 21, 2009 4:35 PM
Ukiah CA


We were told that individual groups can not be recognized because administration has chosen to recognize everyone during hospital week.  They also do not want our facility to appear "cluttered" with banners, signs, etc. because "it is always someone's day/week".  However, they did recognize our nurses with a banner last year and they usually run an ad in our local paper for the nurses and doctors during their day/week.  This has been bad for the morale in our lab and we do feel slighted.  Unfortunately, we can't ask for anything from our vendors because it is against company policy and they will not let us distribute or display anything in our patient waiting areas anyway.  

All of our celebrating will be done behind lab walls with lots of food, games and other activites.  Thanks for your other suggestions.

Stephanie Schaible, Transfusion Service - MT, McKay Dee Hospital April 17, 2009 12:53 PM
Ogden UT


That sounds like a pretty short-sighted approach on the part of your facility. I wonder what the effect is on staff morale. Has administration chosen not to observe ANY week/day including those for doctors and nurses? If they have, I can bet the staff feels slighted. If they have chosen to recognize SOME weeks but not others, then that does not send a very good message either.

One company I worked for decided briefly not to observe separate weeks because there were so many. Also some employees would fit into several groups; and would end up being highlighted many times over. On further investigation we discovered that administration found it prohibitive to contribute and recognize EVERY week because of the time, money, paid ads, T shirts, cups etc. There was also lots of lost time due to onsite parties, lunches and the like. Basically it boiled down to the expense.

The nurses were the first to protest and their week got reinstituted, followed by respiratory until the organization agreed to recognize all "major" weeks although they would no longer foot the bill except for a free lunch and a banner.

I would suggest getting a a press release from ASCLS or other organization and sending it to all the local press (newspaper, radio and TV). Get together  a small group who would be willing to be interviewed. ASCLS also has some press-friendly videos which  TV statons might use in entirety or in part. Ask for the Health Reporter or Features Editor/Producer.

If it's  a matter of cost, get a vendor to donate a banner highlighting the contribution of the clinical laboratory. Are you allowed to place posters in the waiting room or at the TS window so others can see it when they visit the lab? Are the phlebotomists allowed to wear buttons celebrating NMLPW ?

Colleagues can also get together to do something social away from the hospital and invite family and friends. Hand out flyers or short informative packets about CLS, NMLPW and Lab Tests Online.

I am curious to find out if other readers have encountered this problem and also how they have risen above it.

Glen McDaniel April 16, 2009 8:31 PM
Atlanta GA

Our facility has chosen not to recognize individual groups during their professional week.  We can not celebrate outside of the lab with posters, flyers, signs, etc.  Has anyone else run into this sort of thing?  If so, what kind of things did you do instead to teach others outside of the lab about what we do?

Stephanie Schaible, Transfusion Service - MT, McKay Dee Hospital April 16, 2009 1:54 PM
Ogden UT

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