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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Scientists Need Breadth as Well as Depth for Success

Published October 22, 2011 4:36 PM by Glen McDaniel

There is no doubt that scientists are smart individuals-at least most of them. It takes serious brain power to integrate complex principles and understand complicated processes. However simple depth of knowledge is no longer enough in today's world. Some people complain that because of degree creep -where more and more degrees are required for everything and considered routine- it is hard to stand out from the pack. In some cases the content has been compromised in the interest of time or expediency, so today's degreed individual might not have the same depth as someone trained in the same discipline with the same degree several years ago.

The world has grown increasingly complex and diverse. Even the most qualified scientist needs more than that piece of paper to be marketable in today's workplace. Employers want to be sure that you know about the company, its culture, business focus and you are able to work well in teams - often made up of racially and culturally diverse individuals.

Faced with several employees with the same academic credentials and experience, an employer will give the edge to the one candidate who can demonstrate that extra "it" factor.  Today's MLS educators should concentrate on teaching the basics, plus how to use critical thinking skills to apply that hard-earned knowledge in any situation. Current practitioners are encouraged to stay current and pursue acquiring so called "soft skills"  such as emotional intelligence, cultural competence and ability to integrate.

Social skills remain elusive for some scientists, who joke about the deficit and wear it like a badge of honor, rather than try to address it.  Career coaches say that improving communication and relationship skills will strengthen your performance and value in any setting. For medical laboratory scientists, deep technical knowledge and qualification might be a given, so it takes a wide breadth of soft transferable skills to gain that extra edge. The investment in time and effort will definitely pay huge dividends.


I agree with this a lot. The quality of CLS that we turn out are certainly not what it used to be. This is not my personal opinion. Many CLS of my generation or older talk about this all the time. I find that the critical thinking is just not there. It might be because of the quality of applicants or the quality of educators or something. The best CLS is the one who can think on his or her feet, use critical thinking skills and bring  interpersonal skills to the table. Definitely!

Jeremiah , CLS October 23, 2011 11:37 AM
San Francisco CA

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