Happy Independence to You
I am not a huge shopper at all. But today I tagged along as a friend shopped for groceries and a new outfit. Everywhere we went we saw signs of preparation for the Fourth of July weekend-grocery carts laden with barbeque "stuff," packed malls and traffic everywhere. All the activity made me recall a piece I had wrote a few years ago about the comparisons between America's quest for independence and our own challenges/opportunities as clinical laboratorians.
The Founding Fathers having had enough from a tyrannical monarch took the courageous step of declaring themselves free and independent from Britain. Some, though tired of the injustice, feared change more and tried to dissuade the "rabble rousers" from stirring up trouble. They preferred the security of the existing paternal structure to the responsibility of self-determination.
Sounds familiar? As a profession, most of us are moving in the direction of government "by the people", finding it more and more untenable to be subordinate members of a physician organization.
In the workplace, however, many of us are still willing to accept the label of ancillary staff, left out of major decisions regarding patient safety, infection control, resource utilization and clinical outcomes. Why is that? There is some reluctance to pursue direct access testing, patient counseling and many nontraditional roles for which our analytical skills make us ideal candidates. So why the reluctance? Why the apathy?
We often forget that to even sign the Declaration was, in fact, treason, punishable by death. Yet those brave men realized that they would rather face death than live in servitude. Much of what we have to do as a profession requires time, effort, courage and sacrifice. It is worth recalling the advice of Benjamin Franklin as he affixed his signature to the Declaration: "Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
Here's to a happy, safe Fourth of July and a truly independent future.