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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Celebrate NMLPW Differently This Year

Published April 17, 2011 2:10 PM by Glen McDaniel

 Next week, clinical laboratorians all over the country will be celebrating National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW). Observed during the last full week in April each year-this year April 24-30- NMLPW is in its 36th year and celebrates the important contributions that are made every day to healthcare and public health by all laboratory professionals. It is sponsored by 13 laboratory professional organizations, demonstrating an unusual show of unanimity among laboratory groups. There are an estimated 300,000 practitioners of laboratory science in the United States.  

As in years past laboratorians will observe the week by wearing t-shirts and having special food functions. There might be raffles, banners and tours of the laboratory. In recent years I have become disappointed by the inward-looking focus of NMLPW. Sure, it is important to pat ourselves on the back and give kudos to each other. It is certainly welcome when vendors bring us donuts or sponsor a lunch.

 However, I contend this is a great time to look outwards; educating, venturing outside the laboratory, stepping into the breach normally occupied by other professionals. Launch a cooperative effort with nursing or dietary or pharmacy or the medical staff; piggy back on their visibility and show how laboratorians are a valuable, educated and equal part of the patient-care team.

This is also a time to engage laboratorian and get them involved in professional organizations. How about a town hall meeting with other neighboring labs in which issues of licensure, employee shortage and the future of the profession are discussed?

We are a maturing  profession but have struggled with being recognized as one of the adults in healthcare. NMLPW is an opportune time for us to have an adult conversation about where we are, where we are going and what we want to look like in the next 10 to 20 years.

We can still be adorned in t -shirts and feast on goodies, but those activities by themselves are so passé because they have no lasting effect on anyone.

6 comments

Thanks for weighing in, Sheryl. I like to think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. The recognition of staff is important and is something we need to do all year long. However, I contend we fritter away an opportunity for more subtantive impact when we just sit back and eat during NMLPW.

Glen McDaniel April 29, 2011 12:30 PM

Glenn

My feelings exactly as is outlined in my blog. We need to be the cheerleaders and the movers and shakers.

Sheryl

Sheryl April 26, 2011 9:15 PM

LabWeek is here.  I read your article yesterday and was excited about celebrating this week. You know what? We didnt get the breakfast that one certain vendor promised and the lab was in an uproar.  Not one person talked about what we do everyday or what the week means. They were just so upset we didnt get a free breakfast. Give me  abreak. How will we be better as a profession if that is all that lab week means to us???

Rasheeda V April 25, 2011 2:01 PM
New York NY

Good ideas, Jose and Amanda. Amanda, I am especially interested to learn how these activities will be received by your colleagues. Would you come back in a couple weeks and share with us any strong reactions, insights, ideas for next year as  a result of this year's celebration?

Glen McDaniel April 20, 2011 5:12 PM

Last year my co-workers and I felt the same way. This year we made the choice to focus on education. So we have a guest speaker each day of lab week to discuss different  aspect of the medical profession. End of life care,diabetes, research and others. We touch so many different areas of care depending on who needs our assistance. We also will have a tour of the lab so that people can see where we work and get a better understand of what it is we really do. I'm really excited about this years plans.

Amanda S., Lab Asst. April 20, 2011 12:27 PM
Corvallis OR

In every hospital I have worked in it seems the emphasis is on nurses and doctors. One place I worked we even got a special breakfast on Doctor's Day and we have all sorts of banners for nurses day or nurses week. I agree it's nice to ger the food and  self recognition for Lab Week, but we could spend the time more valuable if we did something that was more lasting. I like to even do something iin the community and let it show the name of the profession so the public knows it's not only about doctors and nurses.

Jose B MT (ASCP) April 18, 2011 2:26 PM
Miami FL

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